Socialized Health Care in Action

If you want an idea of what the future of American health care will be like under Obama’s plan, take a look at Canada’s single-payer system as it exists right now.

In its early days, the “Canadian model” was held up as a shining example of what a health care system should be. But that was when it was still feeding off the accumulated capital of all those decades of rapacious capitalistic health care. The infrastructure has deteriorated a bit since then.

According to this CBC news story, a man came into the emergency room of a Winnipeg hospital, sat down to wait, and died before he could be seen. It took 34 hours before anyone noticed him:

Man Dead ‘For Some Time’ in Winnipeg ER Before Staff Alerted: Officials

Health officials say a man who died in the waiting area of a major Winnipeg hospital’s emergency department may have been dead “for some time” before medical staff was alerted — 34 hours after he arrived.

The 45-year-old arrived by taxi at the Health Sciences Centre around 3 p.m. Friday from the Health Action Centre, a community health centre in central Winnipeg, where he had an earlier appointment, officials said.

He was found dead after midnight Sunday.

“It is a really tragic situation. We’re quite shocked that this could happen,” said Dr. Brock Wright, chief medical officer for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. “We’ve never had a situation like this before.”

It appears the man was never assessed by a triage nurse and was not registered as a patient seeking care, Wright said.

– – – – – – – –

Someone in the waiting room alerted the hospital staff that the man appeared dead, and that’s when the man was finally seen by medical personnel, he said.

“There was reason to believe at that time that the patient had passed, had been dead for some time,” Wright said.

“We don’t know how long, but it’s likely that the patient had been deceased for a period of time. I can’t put a time frame to that.”

To be fair to the Canadians, I can easily imagine the same thing happening in the ER of UVA Hospital in Charlottesville. In many of their functions, the large non-profit hospitals in the USA already resemble a socialized health care system.

Whenever the siren song of Barack Obama and other big-government advocates begins to tempt you, lash yourself to the mast and stop your ears by thinking about a DMV office, or the IRS, or your local Department of Social Services, or the waiting area of an emergency room in a large urban hospital.

That’s what Socialism looks like.

Hat tip: JD.

Pro-Köln Roundup

One of the functions of my GoV database is to maintain a table of posts on topics of interest so that I can generate a “previous posts on this topic” list whenever it is useful.

I’ve belatedly set up a topic for Pro-Köln, so for your reference here’s a list of everything I have so far (that I know of).

Update: Link errors fixed, thanks to Eleanor:

2008   Jan   20   Cities Against Islamization
        25   The European Initiative “Cities against Islamization”
    Aug   22   Elderly Anti-Islamization Activist Beaten Unconscious
    Sep   4   Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/4/2008
        14   Diana West on Pro-Köln
        19   More Violence Against Pro-Köln Supporters
        20   Chaos in Cologne
        20   Further First-Hand Reports from Cologne
        20   The Upstanding Citizens of Cologne Repudiate Islamophobia
        20   German News Report on the Events in Cologne
        21   The Post-Mortem on Cologne, Part 1
        21   The Post-Mortem on Cologne, Part 2
        21   The Post-Mortem on Cologne, Part 3
        21   The Post-Mortem on Cologne, Part 4
        21   The Post-Mortem on Cologne, Part 5
        22   More Reports from Cologne
        22   Reports from Dutch Visitors to Cologne
        23   Aviel’s Report from Cologne
        23   Fjordman on Freedom-Fighting “Fascists”
        26   My Impression of the Cologne Event
        26   The InterNazis

[end of post]

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/26/2008

Another Weatherman Terrorist a Player in Obama Campaign
Federal Responses to Market Turmoil
Europe and the EU
British Identity Cards Will be Covered in EU Symbols
Cologne: 2 Terrorist Suspects Arrested on KLM Flight
German Bishops Back “Dignified” Mosques
‘Laissez-Faire’ Capitalism is Finished, Says France
Reports of Routine Swedish Racism ‘Grossly Exaggerated’
UK: Radical Imam’s Daughter Exposed as Pole Dancer
Israel and the Palestinians
AP Blames Israel for Making Palestinians Want to Destroy it
UN: Mideast, Arabs Want Meeting on Settlements
Middle East
Iran: Shipping Firm Nervous About New UN Sanctions
Iran: Singer May be Punished for Singing Koranic Verses
Iran: Jailed Ayatollah Asks Pope to Help Free Him
Iran: ‘Jerusalem Day’ Commemorated in Tehran
Mideast: Damascus Media, Livni Appointment Hard Blow to Peace
The Trouble With Russia
South Asia
Gandhi and Jihad
Indonesia: Islamic Parties to Remain Unpopular in 2009, Survey Says
Lawmakers Postpones Debate on Anti-Pornography Bill
Immigration: Reunion and Asylum, New Rules in Italy
Immigration: EU Okays Sarkozy Pact, Tougher Rules
Immigration: European Parliament Against Vote to Immigrants
Immigration: Italy; Funding for New Identification Centres
Immigration: 300 Rescued at Sea; Vatican Attacks Gov’t
Italy: Over 200 Illegal Immigrants Head for Southern Island
UAE: National Identity Endangered
Political Asylum for Christian Convert
What is an “Islamophobe?”

Thanks to Abu Elvis, ACT for America, Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Fausta, Fjordman, Henrik, Insubria, JD, KGS, VH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
– – – – – – – –


Another Weatherman Terrorist a Player in Obama Campaign

Communists, socialists, anarchists also part of political organization

JERUSALEM — One of the main founders of the Weathermen terrorist organization is a signatory to an independent organization acting to ensure the election of Sen. Barack Obama, WND has learned.

The group in question, Progressives for Obama, also includes among its ranks many former members of the 1960s radical organization Students for a Democratic Society, from which the Weathermen splintered, as well as current and former members of other radical organizations, such as the Communist Party USA and the Black Radical Congress.

In its creed, first published in March in the Nation magazine, the Progressives for Obama founders state their organization descended from the “proud tradition of independent social movements that have made America a more just and democratic country.”

Progressives for Obama stated it can help the Illinois senator’s ascent to highest office by contributing funds, using the Internet to reach “millions of swing voters;” defending Obama against negative attacks and making its agenda known at the Democratic National Convention.

“Progressives can make a difference in close primary races like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon and Puerto Rico, and in the November general election,” the founders state.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Federal Responses to Market Turmoil


Statement of Peter R. Orszag, Director, before the Committee on the Budget U.S. House of Representatives

September 24, 2008

Chairman Spratt, Ranking Member Ryan, and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify this morning on the budgetary and economic implications of the recent turmoil in financial markets and the Administration’s proposal to address it.

Since August 2007, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury have been attempting to address a series of severe breakdowns in financial markets that emanated from the bursting of the housing bubble, leading to substantial losses on mortgage-related securities and great difficulty in accurately ascertaining the financial condition of the institutions holding such securities. Those problems generated significant increases in risk spreads (or the interest rates charged on risky assets relative to Treasury securities) but, more important, contributed to a broader collapse of confidence, with the result that financial institutions became increasingly unwilling to lend to one another.

Over the past several weeks, the collapse of confidence in financial markets has become particularly severe. Short-term loans between financial institutions have fallen off sharply. Instead, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have become the financial intermediaries for them. In other words, rather than financial institutions with excess money lending to institutions needing short-term funding, many institutions with excess short-term money have purchased Treasury securities, the Treasury has placed the proceeds on deposit at the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve has then lent the money out to those institutions needing short-run funding.

Thus far, turmoil in the financial markets has had less impact on macroeconomic activity than may have been expected, and, indeed, economic growth was relatively strong in the second quarter of this year—in part because of the stimulus package enacted earlier this year. A modern economy like the United States’, however, depends crucially on the functioning of its financial markets to allocate capital, and history suggests that the real economy typically slows some time after a downturn in financial markets. Moreover, ominous signs about credit difficulties are accumulating. The issuance of corporate debt plummeted in the third quarter, and the short-term commercial paper market has also been hit hard. Bank lending, which has thus far remained relatively strong, will undoubtedly be severely curtailed by the difficulties that banks are facing in raising capital. Such a curtailment of credit means that businesses and individuals will find it increasingly difficult to borrow money to carry out their normal activities. In sum, the problems occurring in financial markets raise the possibility of a severe credit crunch, which could have devastating effects on the U.S. and world economies.

To mitigate the risks, the Department of the Treasury has proposed the Troubled Asset Relief Act of 2008, and similar proposals have also been put forward by the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. In an analysis of these proposals, it is useful to identify two problems facing financial markets: illiquidity triggered by market panic and the potential insolvency of many financial institutions.

One problem is that the markets for some types of assets and transactions have essentially stopped functioning. To address that problem, the government could conceivably intervene as a “market maker,” by offering to purchase assets through a competitive process and thereby provide a price signal to other market participants. (That type of intervention, if designed carefully to keep the government from overpaying, might not involve any significant subsidy from the government to financial institutions.) The second problem, though, involves the potential insolvency of specific financial institutions. By some estimates, global commercial banks and investment banks may need to raise a minimum of roughly $150 billion more to cover their losses. As of mid-September 2008, cumulative recognized losses stood at about $520 billion, while the institutions had raised $370 billion of additional capital.1 Restoring solvency to insolvent institutions requires additional capital injections, and one possible source of such capital is the federal government.

Those two problems are related in the sense that it is difficult to know which institutions are insolvent without being able to value the assets they hold (which in turn is impeded by illiquid markets). Undisclosed losses are unlikely to be distributed uniformly throughout the financial system, and the inability to identify which institutions are carrying the largest losses has led to a breakdown of trust in the entire financial sector.2 That loss of trust has sharply increased the cost of raising capital and rolling over debt, which threatens the solvency of all financial institutions. Injecting more capital into financial institutions could help to restore liquidity to some financial markets, because, with larger cushions of capital to protect against default, the institutions would be more willing to lend to one another. Another linkage between these two problems could occur if some institutions are unwilling to sell assets at current market prices if that then triggered the recognition of accounting losses; such reluctance to sell can contribute to illiquid markets. With additional equity, those institutions may be more willing to sell at current market prices even if that required recognizing losses.

Although the problems of illiquidity and insolvency are interrelated, they are at least conceptually distinct. Indeed, some policy proposals appear to be aimed primarily at the illiquidity of particular asset markets, and others appear to be aimed primarily at the potential insolvency of specific financial institutions.

Most of this testimony examines the Troubled Asset Relief Act of 2008. That act appears to be motivated primarily by concerns about illiquid markets. The more the government overpays for assets purchased under that act, however, the more the proposed program would instead provide a subsidy to specific financial institutions, in a manner that seems unlikely to be an efficient approach to addressing concerns about insolvency.

           — Hat tip: Fausta [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

British Identity Cards Will be Covered in EU Symbols

Britain’s first identity card in more than half a century was unveiled yesterday — and turned out to be covered in EU symbols to satisfy Brussels.

The plastic card, which will be issued to foreign citizens in Britain starting in November, marks the first stage in the Government’s ambitious scheme to issue biometric ID cards to all UK residents at a cost of billions of pounds.

But serious questions remain over whether the system will work or bring any practical benefits, and doubts were underlined yesterday as the Conservatives pledged to scrap the entire venture if they win the next General Election.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cologne: 2 Terrorist Suspects Arrested on KLM Flight

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — German police boarded a plane at Cologne airport and arrested two terrorist suspects Friday just before the plane took off for Amsterdam.

A 23-year-old Somali man and a 24-year-old German man born in Somalia were arrested before the KLM flight left the airport, a spokeswoman for North Rhine-Westphalia state police said.

Police spokeswoman Katharina Breuer told The Associated Press that officers boarded the plane at 6:55 a.m. (0455 GMT) and arrested the men without incident. She said authorities do not think the men planned to abduct the flight.

Germany’s top-selling Bild newspaper, citing police sources, said the men had been under observation for months and a suicide note was found in their apartment saying that they wanted to die for the “jihad” or “holy war.”

Breuer would not disclose how authorities knew the men would be on board.

A KLM spokeswoman told NOS news in the Netherlands that police boarded the Fokker 50 jet when it was at its “point of departure” and grabbed the two suspects. She said all other passengers aboard KLM Flight 1804 were then forced to leave the plane.

“Then a ‘baggage parade’ took place to see if the two passengers who were taken by the police had bags with them,” the spokeswoman said.

She said the plane took off after an hour delay and landed at Schipol airport in the Netherlands without further incident.

The Dutch anti-terror chief warned earlier this month that the country remains one of the top targets for Islamic terrorist groups because of publicity surrounding a lawmaker’s anti-Islam film.

The National Coordinator for Combating Terrorism said in a report the film “Fitna” by lawmaker Geert Wilders has made the country a “preferred target.” Fitna set Koranic texts against a background of violent images, which the agency said “is considered a major insult and provocation” by terrorist groups.

The terrorist threat has been rated as “substantial” since the film’s launch in March.

Frank Wallenta, a spokesman for federal prosecutors in Germany, said the arrests in Cologne were not related to an announcement Thursday that two men linked to terrorist suspects may be on their way back to Germany.

On Thursday, prosecutors announced that Eric Breininger, 21, and Houssain Al Malla, 23 could be headed to Germany after leaving a terrorist training camp in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The men are linked to a foiled plot to attack American targets in Germany in 2007.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

German Bishops Back “Dignified” Mosques

Entering a growing controversy about the building of a mosque in Cologne, Germany’s Catholic bishops affirmed Friday the right of Muslims to build “dignified” houses of worship in German cities.

But in compromise wording that reflected differences among the bishops, they added that they disapproved of mosques “being abused as expressions of power hunger, rivalry or aggressive interaction.”

Despite supporting the building of mosques, the bishops said Muslim communities should try to consider local residents when seeking to establish places of worship.

The bishops were meeting as part of their annual autumn plenary assembly in the city of Fulda, Hesse.

The assembly went on to condemn any attempts, political or not, to arouse an anti-Islamic sentiment within Germany. “Criticism is permitted, agitation is not,” stressed the chairman of the assembly, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch.

He said the matter came down to the right to freedom of worship, but added that mosque designs should be adapted to their surroundings and should try to meet the “justifiable concerns” of neighbours.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy-Libya: S. Craxi Expresses Positive Opinion on Treaty

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 23 — Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Stefania Craxi, believes the agreement signed between Italy and Libya deserves a “positive judgement”. Undersecretary Craxi said in an interview with Popoli weekly that the treaty marks “a turn in the relations between the two countries. I think that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is right in saying that it was a historic signing. This treaty of friendship, partnership and cooperation finally closes the difficult and decades-long dispute on the colonial past and opens a new phase in the relations between Italy and Libya. The two countries decided to cooperate in favour of peace, security and stability in the Mediterranean region.” Stefania Craxi recalls that “the agreement on immigration already existed, but Libya has never implemented it. Thus the debarkations on the Italian coasts have increased in the last months: in July and August 3,000 people arrived on the coasts of Lampedusa, while their number is 12,500 in the first seven months of the year. Is Libya reliable? I believe that the only way for Tripoli to respects the rights of the immigrants is the collaboration: we and Libya must be in a constant dialogue and must exchange our experience.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Laissez-Faire’ Capitalism is Finished, Says France

Both France and Germany on Thursday (25 September) said the current financial crisis would leave important marks on the world economy, with French president Nicolas Sarkozy declaring that the under-regulated system we once knew is now “finished,” and German finance minister Peer Steinbruck saying the crisis marks the beginning of a multi-polar world, where the US is no longer a superpower.

“The all-powerful market that always knows best is finished,” says France’s president (Photo: European Parliament — Audiovisual Unit)


Comment article

Speaking to an audience of some 4,000 supporters in Toulon, France, Mr Sarkozy said the financial turmoil had highlighted the need to re-invent capitalism with a strong dose of morality, as well as to put in place a better regulatory system.

“The idea of the all-powerful market that must not be constrained by any rules, by any political intervention, was mad. The idea that markets were always right was mad,” Mr Sarkozy said.

“The present crisis must incite us to refound capitalism on the basis of ethics and work … Self-regulation as a way of solving all problems is finished. Laissez-faire is finished. The all-powerful market that always knows best is finished,” he added.

He accused “this system that allows the ones responsible for a disaster to leave with a golden parachute” of having “increased inequality, demoralised the middle classes and fed [market] speculation.”

           — Hat tip: Henrik [Return to headlines]

Neo Nazi Thugs Cause Residents to Flee Homes

Terrified residents fled their homes in tears after more than 800 neo-Nazi skin heads stormed a local family-friendly music and motor show.

The white supremists wreaked havoc, urinating over residents’ cars and threatening anyone who dared intervene with ‘absolute violence’.

Swigging beer and whiskey, they marched the streets in leather jackets and army boots, draped in swastika flags and chanting racist slogans, to the horror of onlookers.

The violent thugs, clad in army boots and leather jackets, shouted ‘Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil’ — a nazi WWII chant meaning ‘hail victory’.

The Gooding family were forced to flee their home in terror when over 800 neo-Nazi violent thugs descended on their neighbourhood

Mother-of-two Sarah Gooding, 39, who recorded the destruction in Redhill, North Somerset, on video, broke down in tears yesterday as she re-lived the terror that took place.

She said: ‘My daughter was petrified, I was terrified and so was my husband. We ran into the house and I burst into tears and said to my husband ‘we’ve got to go, I don’t feel safe’.

Mrs Gooding was forced to grab her daughters and flee their semi-detached four-bedroom cottage for fear of their lives.

‘Our daughters were really, really frightened,’ she said. ‘They were in tears as we were packing our bags to flee. ‘I just can’t stop crying as I think back to how bad it was — it was like a miniature Nuremberg rally full of thugs.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Reports of Routine Swedish Racism ‘Grossly Exaggerated’

While immigrants can find it difficult to establish a foothold on the job market in Sweden, politicians, intellectuals and the media are often too quick to make employment a race issue, writes Nima Sanandaji.

Listening to media, politicians and intellectuals one gets a sense that racism, overt and casual, more or less defines daily life in Sweden. But as it turns out, the case for racism is routinely overstated. And perhaps more importantly, exaggerating this social problem can in itself hinder integration.

Recently Aleksander Gabelic, Member of Parliament for the Social Democrats and President of the United Nations Association of Sweden, demanded in a debate article that racist organizations should be banned in Sweden:

“In the convention against ethnic discrimination, which Sweden has signed, it is clearly stated that racist organizations and their propaganda should not be allowed.”

During the previous Social Democratic government, then Integration Minister Mona Sahlin appointed Professor Masoud Kamali to investigate the issue of discrimination. A number of subsequent reports explained that racism was an integral part of Swedish daily life, determining the actions of journalists, politicians, researchers and employers alike. Kamali wrote:

And according to the editorial pages of the country’s largest newspaper Aftonbladet, racism has “nothing to do with reality”. The paper argued that discriminatory views would not lose ground if immigrants were to improve their position in society.

Immigrants are faced with many challenges in Swedish society, not the least of which are financial. Among first generation immigrants from non-industrialized countries, less than half of the adults are active in the labour market. Immigrants who have employment or run their own businesses typically earn considerably less than native Swedes.

There are many reasons for these problems, such as rigid regulations making it difficult to enter the labour market, the failure of the education system to teach basic Swedish-language skills to newly arrived immigrants, or bureaucracy standing in the way of the expansion of immigrant businesses.

Which is not to say that simple discrimination does not exist. Many immigrants have from time to time faced mistreatment due to their ethnic origin, both in the labour market and elsewhere. However, the issue of racism in Sweden is quite complex. Scientific experiments indeed tell us that racism is not the main problem facing immigrants in the workplace.

It is in fact possible to objectively measure the effect of discrimination in the labour market. This has, for example, been done by the International Labour Organization (ILO), which in 2006 carried out a number of experiments to see how ethnic origin affected the ability to attain a job. The organization examined the employment prospects of fictional characters of Arabic and Swedish descent.

In the first stage of the experiment, employers that had announced vacancies were contacted by telephone and asked if they were interested in having job applications sent in. In the second stage, applications were sent to the employers who had shown an interest, and in the third stage the ILO sent out actors to job interviews.

The objective was to determine how well people from different backgrounds but with the same level of experience and education would perform in the real life labour market. Applications were sent to jobs in the restaurant business requiring few qualifications, since previous research had shown that discrimination was greatest in low-qualified fields of employment. So what were the results?

In the first stage, the researchers found marginal differences in outcome due to ethnic origin. In the third stage, the actors with Arabic origin in fact had better luck attaining jobs during the interviews than the actors of Swedish origin (although too few got as far as an interview for this effect to be statistically significant). The effects of ethnic discriminations were clearly shown only in the second stage, where those with Arabic names had to send away twice as many applications to be called to an interview.

A survey conducted for the paper Dagens Nyheter in 2004 found a similar, but much weaker effect. In this case, individuals with Swedish names had a 15 percent higher chance of getting a positive response when sending in applications compared to those with an Arabic name.

In a third scientific paper, researchers Magnus Carlsson and Dan-Olof Rooth summarize previous research results and their own findings.

They come to the conclusion that discrimination is almost only visible in the steps before a job interview: “Once individuals have been called to an interview they do not face discrimination”.

The researchers note in their own study that applicants with Swedish names must on average seek ten jobs in order to be called to three interviews. Those with Arabic names must apply to on average fifteen jobs to be called to the same number of interviews.

This effect is, according to the researchers, “probably only important if there is a lack of job vacancies advertised”, since immigrants can compensate for discrimination by applying for a greater number of jobs.

So why do peopel with Arabic names have more difficulty finding jobs when applying by letter, but not when on the phone or in an interview? One interpretation is that employers often assume that immigrants on average have less language skills. When job seekers show that they master Swedish on the phone or in a face-to-face conversation, most of the discriminatory effects disappear.

Carlsson and Rooth draw the conclusion that the media is over-selling the case of ethnic discrimination. They write: “In the media, the Swedish labour market is sometimes described as strongly discriminatory and subject to racism. This perspective seems, based on our finding, to be greatly exaggerated.”

The researchers go as far as to note that it can have serious consequences if exaggerations of ethnic discrimination lead to jobseekers with immigrant background choosing to less actively seek jobs or educate themselves. Indeed, it is quite apparent that this effect exists in immigrant neighbourhoods. Many young immigrants become quite disillusioned by media reports regarding racism and discrimination.

When society tells young immigrants that they simply cannot achieve success through work and education, fewer choose to work hard on attaining a good degree or making a career. A negative perspective towards society is created, turning some towards crime and anti-social behaviour.

Racism is a social ill that must be combated and openly discussed. But another social problem is the way in which intellectuals exaggerate the case for racism, misleading many immigrants into believing that success is not a possible for them. It is important to give a nuanced view of discrimination and racism, communicating the obstacles as well as the opportunities to success through work and education in Swedish society.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

Spain: Ceuta; Security Strenghtened After Al Qaeda Threats

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 24 — Ceuta has strengthened “the security measures” on the border which separates the Spanish enclave from Morocco and at the port, due to “the anti-terrorist alarm” which went off after the threats of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Spanish government delegate to the Spanish autonomous city, Jose Fernandez Chacon, told news agency EFE. Chacon referred to the publishing on the Internet of a video in which leader of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, urges the Muslims in North Africa to unite for the “sacred war” against Spain, France, the United States and their governments. “Ceuta is at alarm level 2,” Cachon underlined, explaining that “threats appear periodically and they must be analysed and evaluated”. The strengthening of the security measures, the government delegate observes, “sometimes could cause inconvenience to the citizens, mainly as regards the volatility of the passages at the port and on the border”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Radical Imam’s Daughter Exposed as Pole Dancer

Radical cleric’s message to Britain after his daughter is exposed as a pole-dancer: ‘You As the daughter of firebrand cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, you might expect Yasmin Fostok to adhere to his fanatical beliefs.

But not for her, the facial veil and burqa covering from head to toe.

Instead, the radical Muslim’s daughter has ditched not only his extreme interpretation of Islam — but also much of her clothing.

For the busty blonde 26-year-old has been uncovered as a topless, tattooed pole dancer.

The young mother has been displaying her ample charms cavorting in cages in pole dancing clubs in London’s West End, and touring as a ‘podium’ dancer with a troupe called Ibiza Untouched.

In front of hundreds of youngsters, the daughter of the preacher of hate — who rants against Western ‘depravity’ — whips clubbers into a frenzy, even working a fire-eating routine into her act.

Yasmin shrugged off the secret life that her father would abhor. ‘I don’t agree with his views — I just get on with my life and that’s it,’ she said.

Perhaps predictably, self-styled sheikh Bakri, now exiled to Lebanon, dismissed the news as a ‘fabrication’ and described it as an attack on him and Islam.

‘The more you put pressure on me, the stronger I become. Islam will conquer Britain.

‘I have not seen my daughter for nine years , but because she is a member of my family people want to make things up about her.

‘You are going to pay a heavy price,’ he warned. ‘You can read it any way you like. The time is now.’

Blonde Yasmin, 27, has changed her name from Youssra and now lives as a single mother with her son in a ground-floor flat in Catford, south east London.

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

AP Blames Israel for Making Palestinians Want to Destroy it

by Barry Rubin

In an article of September 20, Ali Daraghmeh, “Army says troops kill Palestinian with firebomb,” there is a long discussion of the current state of the peace process.

Let’s be clear: virtually nobody in Israel who is not speaking as an official government spokesman believes that there is any chance that there will be a peace soon with the Palestinians. The great majority of them place most or all the blame on the Palestinians. In addition, most people in political life who would say publicly that there is a chance for peace have the opposite view in private conversations.

These two points, which hold true across the political spectrum except for the far left—doubts about the process and blame on the Palestinians—never appear in coverage. Never, ever. Yet these are the two most important facts about the most over-covered issue in the world. Articles lately will say that the deadline will probably not be met, but present that as sort of an accident or due to Israel’s fault—the fall of the government.

This article, like so many others, gives a lot of space to Palestinian viewpoints and none to Israeli viewpoints. In this case:

“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, warned that time for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is quickly running out.” It then quotes a Mahmoud Abbas op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal blaming, “Israel’s continued settlement expansion and land confiscation in the West Bank makes physical separation of our two peoples increasingly impossible.” Actually both settlement growth and land confiscation (pretty much exclusively for the separation fence and often reversed by Israeli courts) is pretty limited.

Another really long article is dedicated to proving that Israel is destroying any chance for peace, basically serving as a Palestinian propaganda statement. This article, Steven Gutkin, “Palestinians despairing of independence effort, September 20, 2008, basically says that the nice Palestinians really want peace but Israel won’t give it to them. As a result, the frustrated Palestinians may have to resort to violence. Well who could blame them under these conditions, right?

Here’s the lead:

“Prominent Palestinians are lighting a fire under Israel’s feet by proposing a peace in which there would be no separate Palestine and Israel, but a single state with equal rights for all.”

So let’s ask some questions. The Palestinians use the phrase about lighting fires as a code word for terrorist violence, though the American reader will understand it here as sort of, urging Israel to move forward. Is a Palestinian demand for Israel to disappear and millions of Palestinians to be allowed to live there a peace proposal? And does anyone take seriously the idea of equal rights for all, a phrase taken from the U.S. Supreme Court building?

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin [Return to headlines]

UN: Mideast, Arabs Want Meeting on Settlements

(ANSAmed) — NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 25 — The Arab countries will ask for a UN Security Council session to discuss the issue of the Jewish settlements on the territories where the Palestinians want to build their state, Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, told the journalists yesterday evening in New York on the occasion of the works of the United Nations General Assembly, during a meeting with other counterparts of the Arab countries. “There will be an Arab request for a Security Council meeting to discuss the issue of settlements … as soon as possible, hopefully this week,” he affirmed. The Palestinian negotiators lament that the Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank is undermining the efforts of the international mediators. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said that he and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal will present the request for the meeting of the council on Thursday. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran: Shipping Firm Nervous About New UN Sanctions

Tehran, 25 Sept. (AKI) — As the United Nations moves to consider fresh sanctions to counter Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the country’s largest shipping company has already been hit by restrictions.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its 18 affiliates were included on a list of companies and individuals compiled in Washington two weeks ago for providing logistical support in relation to Iran’s nuclear programme.

A request by France to the United Nations’ Security Council to extend boycotts to other companies could affect the movement of trade and commerce between Iran and the Mediterranean region.

A joint Italian-Iranian venture known as Irital told Adnkronos International (AKI) it had made no changes to its shipping operations “if you exclude falls linked to seasonal falls in the market”.

The company, based in the northern Italian city of Genoa, was created in 1992 by IRISL and Fratelli Cosulich SpA and is the Italian agent for the Iranian company.

But local operators told the Maltese daily, Independent, that they are worried that any extension of sanctions against IRISL would stop them from having commercial relations with the firm, that has a dozen vessels in Maltese ports every week.

Iran’s largest shipping company has told The Financial Times that it is confident it can protect its business from the impact of US sanctions imposed earlier this month.

The company told the London business daily the American allegations were “baseless” and the sanctions were irrelevant because Iran has had no shipping in US waters or assets in the US for three decades.

Mohammad-Hossein Daajmar, director of IRISL, did not rule out some increased costs as a result of the US sanctions but doubted the company would face any any decrease in the volume of transactions.

More than 60 percent of the company’s shipping transactions were with Asian countries, particularly China, he said.

“We are thinking about concentrating on Asian and African markets, and abandoning the west,” told a spokesman for the Iranian Shipping Society to AKI.

“We have already put a number of measures in place to get around these and possible future sanctions,” he said. “Many other Iranian companies, after a period of difficulty, have managed to normalise their commercial relations so they could get around the sanctions without too many problems.”

The IRISL, which claims to be the biggest shipping company in the Middle East, has a fleet of 143 ships and carries about a third of Iran’s imports and exports worth more than 70 billion dollars in 2007.

Further sanctions against Iran were in doubt on Thursday, after Russia pulled out of crucial talks in New York.

Moscow withdrew from the multilateral talks planned for the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly amid tensions with the United States over Russia’s military action in Georgia.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Iran: Singer May be Punished for Singing Koranic Verses

Tehran, 25 Sept. (AKI) — A prominent Iranian singer-songwriter could be punished for using verses of the Koran, Islam’s holy book, in a song.

Mohsen Namjoo, considered by the US daily The New York Times as the ‘Iranian Bob Dylan’, could potentially face a jail sentence or even the death penalty after mixing Persian music with Koranic verses.

Namjoo, a 32-year-old native of Torbate-Jam in northeastern Iran and a former Koranic reciter, said the song was a “simple experiment” and was not meant to be publicised. The song was uploaded on the Internet without his consent and knowledge.

A Koran expert later complained about Namjoo’s song and sent a letter to Tehran’s feared public prosecutor Saiid Mortazavi, known for shutting down hundreds of newspapers and ordering the arrest of hundreds of journalists and Internet bloggers.

More complaints have been filed by several Iranian Islamic organisations, raising fears that Najmoo could be punished have a ‘fatwa’ or religious edict issued against him calling for his death.

“The use of Koranic verses in the context of a song is a big offence, on a par with Salman Rushdie’s book and the Danish cartoon,” said Abbas Mohajerani, an Iranian-born Islamic scholar based in the United Kingdom.

“When the Koran is being read, everyone should remain silent and listen. If there is music playing, then the listener’s attention is largely caught by the music,” he said.

Namjoo is currently on a solo concert tour in the US.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Iran: Jailed Ayatollah Asks Pope to Help Free Him

Tehran, 26 Sept. (AKI) — Iran’s jailed Ayatollah Sayyid Hossein Kazemeini Boroujerdi has written a letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other religious leaders asking them to help secure his release.

The ayatollah asked the pontiff to “…defend the divine credibility and spiritual sacredness” by asking the Iranian authorities to respect human rights.

The letter was reportedly smuggled out of jail and distributed by the ayatollah’s representative in Europe.

It was also addressed to Israel’s chief rabbi, the grand mufti of al-Azhar and the Saudi ulema of Dar al-Fatwa.

Addressing the Muslim leaders, Kazemeini says that “Political Islam is erasing the word of God and his prophet, Mohammed”, while he asks rabbis to “make the world hear the cry of the Muslims in Iran, in the name of the same God that (we) jointly worship.”

Kazemeini has been jailed since October 2006 with a group of his supporters. They have been accused of anti-constitutional activities and heresy.

Rights group Amnesty International claims that Kazemeini has been tortured for the past two years. He is known to oppose political Islam and the presence of the mullahs and ayatollahs in government and institutions.

Kazemeini has broad support in Iran and before his arrest, thousands of people filled stadiums to hear his sermons.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Iran: ‘Jerusalem Day’ Commemorated in Tehran

Tehran, 26 Sept. (AKI) — Protesters gathered in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Friday to commemorate what Muslims call international ‘al-Quds’ or Jerusalem Day.

The protests are held every year on the last Friday of the holy fasting month of Ramadan to oppose Israel’s control over Jerusalem and to support the Palestinian cause.

The celebrations “…..were initiated by the late Founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Imam Khomeini to voice support for the oppressed Palestinian nation and protest of the Islamic Ummah against Zionist usurpers,” according to the official Iranian news agency Irna.

Protesters chanted slogans such as “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” during the demonstration, reported Irna.

Demonstrators crowded the streets leading to the campus of Tehran University, where Friday prayers were expected to be led by Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of the Assembly of Experts.

Al-Quds or ‘the holy one’, is what Muslims call the city of Jerusalem, which is considered Islam’s third holiest site. It is also the place where Jesus Christ was crucified and the city where the Jews holiest temple was located.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Mideast: Damascus Media, Livni Appointment Hard Blow to Peace

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, SEPTEMBER 25 — If Tzipi Livni becomes Prime Minister of Israel “the road to peace will be compromised”, pro government Syrian daily Tishrin wrote today, adding that Livni, just like some of her predecessors, “prefers violence to politics”. This is the third verbal attack on the Israeli Prime Minister designate in the past days on the part of the pro government media in Damascus which defined her as one of “the best products of Ariel Sharon”, former Israeli Prime Minister and founder in 2005 of the party Kadima. “Livni is the daughter of organised crime,” Tishrin wrote, referring to the parents of the Prime Minister designate, Eitan Livni and Sara Rosenberg, both of whom were members of the Zionist militia Irgun, which operated in British-ruled Palestine between 1931 and 1948 and is considered responsible for dozens of attacks against the local Palestinian population. Irgun later became the core of the right-wing party Likud. “The Israeli always prefer to be led by criminals whose hands are stained with Arab blood,” the Damascus-based newspaper added. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]


The Trouble With Russia

by Barry Rubin

The return of Russian power in the Middle East, next to Iran’s nuclear weapons’ campaign, is the region’s most important new issue. While far less threatening than the Soviet bloc’s Cold War backing for radical Arab states, this development poses some major problems for U.S. leaders, Israeli interests, and Middle East politics.

Between 1956 and 1990, the Soviet Union bestrode the regional stage like a colossus, the alternative model and sponsor that indirectly inspired, armed, and protected the domination of radical Arab nationalist regimes, groups, and ideas. Moscow’s goals were to win the competition with the United States, extend its influence, and gain access to strategic locations and resources.

It’s called power politics, the kind of thing that isn’t supposed to exist in this era where being a community organizer is supposedly the main qualification for being president and no problem is deemed unsolvable if enough concessions or apologies are made to one’s enemy.

Though many in the West seem to have forgotten, ambition, ideology, and realpolitik have not vanished from this world. If one team plays the game like rugby and the other like solitaire, the former has some natural advantages. Or, if you prefer a different metaphor, sort of like a shark facing off against a preening goldfish.

Today, Russia’s ambitions are much diminished. Indeed, while it desperately seeks money, the goal that seems to dominate President Vladimir Putin’s thinking is not so much world domination as a sense of grievance and a desire for respect. Unfortunately, these last two qualities have been shown in the Middle East to be among the most dangerous of all.

Putin’s basic view seems to be that the West humiliated Russia, which gave up the Soviet Union’s sense of purpose, tight discipline, and empire without getting much in return. Russia is demoralized. Moscow is flooded with luxury stores forming a kind of army of occupation. Democracy proved to be messy; poverty has grown (or more accurately, just come to the surface). Throwing out communism brought no rose garden.

Putin responded approvingly to a Russian educator who complained, “In exchange for our disarming ideologically we have received this abstract recipe [from the West]: you become democrats and capitalists and we will control you.”

He views himself as Russia’s savior, ready to employ tough methods for that purpose. Certainly, he doesn’t seek to return to the old days. There’s a much wider margin of freedom, yet journalists who dig too deep end up in a hole in the ground, and industrialists who challenge the regime quickly find themselves facing criminal charges…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Gandhi and Jihad

A good comment from Hugh Fitzgerald:

Gandhi was unacceptably wrong about a number of things — his advice to Jews to mimic Indians in their campaign with the British, and to offer “passive resistance” to Hitler, and if necessary sacrifice themselves, takes the cake, but he was also remarkably ill-informed about the Muslim threat, the deep and permanent threat, to the “wounded civilization” (in Naipaul’s phrase — a civilization “wounded” by the centuries of Muslim rule, its cruelty, its mass murdering). And he certainly gave Muslims the benefit of every doubt.

After Partition, Muslims attacked Hindus, and Hindus fought back. There was an exchange of populations, but many tens of millions of Muslims remained in India, while a few million Hindus remained in West Pakistan (now Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). But because of the constant discrimination against, and persecution of, Hindus (as well as of all other non-Muslims), the percentage of the population of West Pakistan that is now Hindu has dropped from 15% to 1.4%, and from 35% to less than 8%. The much smaller population of Buddhists in Bangladesh has also been persecuted, and of course Christians in both Pakistan and Bangladesh have a terrible time. Meanwhile, in India, the Muslim percentage of the population climbs steadily up, and no Muslims appear to be fleeing India to go to Pakistan or Bangladesh. So there continues to be population movement, but not population exchange. If Hindus (and other non-Muslims) are not to be permanently subject to Muslim terrorism and to Muslim demands, each demand more outrageous than the next, with no sign that Muslims are willing to own up to what is in the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sira, and own up to the incompatibility of Islam, and what Islam inculcates, with the beliefs, or the legal and political institutions, of Hindus, or Christians, or Jews, or Buddhists, or anyone at all who is non-Muslim and refuses to yield to the Sharia and to dominance by Muslims, then eventually, and inevitably, those such as the Hindus, upon whom war has been made, will react and not stop until they have done to Muslims what Muslims have been doing to them, and pushed many of them into Pakistan and Bangladesh, in mirror image of the Hindus formerly pushed out of those places, during the past half-century since Partition. It is doubtful that in the rest of the world there would be much, or any, sympathy for the Muslims dealt with in this matter. Infidels need not inure themselves, need not endure forever what has become or is becoming an intolerable situation because of the ideology of Islam.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Islamic Parties to Remain Unpopular in 2009, Survey Says

Jakarta, 26 Sept. (AKI/Jakarta Post) — Support for Islamist-based parties is expected to remain low in the 2009 elections as Muslims look set to vote for nationalist political groups promoting better welfare for the public, according to a new survey released on Thursday.

It suggested the political stance of Muslim voters would stay unchanged from previous general elections.

The poll by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) found only 16.6 percent of 1,239 Muslim voters surveyed intended to vote for Islamic parties in the 2009 legislative election.

“Sixty percent of voters would cast their ballots for nationalist parties such as the Golkar Party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Democratic Party,” LSI researcher Dodi Ambardi told a media conference at the launch of the survey.

The survey, conducted from September 8-20, revealed 24.4 percent of respondents were still undecided.

“Islamic parties have never won the majority of votes in Indonesia, and the trend looks set to continue into the 2009 elections,” Dodi said.

There are at least nine Islamic parties contesting the elections, including the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the United Development Party (PPP), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Crescent Star Party (PBB) and the Reform Star Party (PBR).

The survey found the PKS, which won 7.3 percent of votes in the 2004 election, was likely to emerge as the most popular Islamic party, followed by the fractured PKB.

However, only 6 percent of respondents agreed the PKS ran programmes aimed at improving public welfare — much lower than the 15 percent siding with Golkar.

In addition, 76 percent of respondents listed economic and social welfare as their top priority, compared with only 15 percent who prioritised national unity.

Another 8 percent considered law enforcement the crucial issue, and only 0.8 percent put morality and religious affairs at the top of their list.

Dodi said Islamic parties should promote pluralism and economic issues, rather than focus on Islamism, if they wanted to garner more votes.

Data from the LSI shows Islamic parties’ share of the vote has continued to decline since a record share of of votes (43 percent) in the country’s 1955 elections.

Islamic parties took 38 percent of the vote in the 1999 and 2004 elections in Indonesia.

The survey also found the Megawati Soekarnoputri-led PDI-P had the biggest support from Muslim voters, with 19 percent, followed by Golkar with 18 percent.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party was popular with 11 percent of Muslim voters.

PKS official Rozikum agreed Islamic parties needed to promote broader issues touching on public interests to win the hearts of Muslim voters.

“It is our experience that when we try to promote such issues as good governance, we get more support, like in the 2004 elections,” he said.

However, he said the use of the term “Islamic party” in the LSI survey was inaccurate.

“We see many parties, including Golkar, the PDI-P and the Democratic Party, now competing to declare themselves Islamic parties. Their leaders are even more Islamic than us,” he said.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Lawmakers Postpones Debate on Anti-Pornography Bill

Indonesian public opinion is largely happy with lawmakers’ decision to postpone discussion of controversial law. Representatives slam dirty tricks like forged signatures and exclusions from debates meant to favour bill approval.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Indonesia’s House of Representatives has decided to postpone the debate over the anti-pornography bill. Known in Bahasa Indonesia as Undang-undang Pornografi, Uu App, the bill has been very divisive across the country. Yet lawmakers do intend to pass a law that could bring everyone on board before the end of the year.

Public opinion has by and large welcomed the decision. For many Indonesians the bill is a waste of energy which could be better spend in doing something else.

A number of lawmakers have complained that some signatures needed to get a quorum to vote on postponement were forged. Others have said that only those who backed the law were allowed to take part in parliamentary discussions.

“We were once banned from a bill deliberation meeting at the House, whilst parties (supporting the bill) were not,” said Beny Wijayanto from the Women’s Legal Aid Foundation.

The anti-Christian bill is backed by the country’s main Islamist parties like the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), and some radical groups. It is opposed instead by the nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI-P), the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) and the Democratic Party (PD).

At the heart of the dispute lies the bill’s vague definition of “pornography” because could include any form of art like “drawings, sketches, illustrations, photographs, text, sound, moving pictures, animation, cartoons, poetry” as well as clothing.

Critics slam the bill because it would eradicate all cultural differences and threaten national unity. For many it is an attempt by Islamic fundamentalist to introduce Sharia law and turn the country into another Saudi Arabia.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]


Immigration: Reunion and Asylum, New Rules in Italy

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 24 — Tighter measures as regards family reunion and the requests for asylum is envisaged by the two legislative decrees approved yesterday by the government. The two provisions is explained here in short. FAMILY REUNION — The decree introduces limitations to the right of reunion of a husband and wife, of children over eighteen and parents. In particular for a husband and wife a minimum age of 18 years and not to be legally separated is required. For children over eighteen it is required that the impossibility to meet the indispensable needs of life depends on objective reasons coming from a condition of total disability. For parents it is required that they do not have children in the country of origin or, if aged over 65, that the other children are unable to pay for their keep due to documented serious health reasons. Moreover, for verification of family relationship it is envisaged that the possibility of DNA tests is paid by the immigrant, when there are doubts on the authenticity of the identity. The cost of the DNA test can vary from approximately 600-900 euro in a public structure to at most 1,500 euro. And in general it rises as much far is the grade of relationship to be verified, the doctors explain. Even if a price reduction is possible in the future with the introduction of new technologies. RECOGNITION AND REVOCATION OF REFUGEE STATUS — The decree envisages that the prefect establishes a place of residence or an area where the applicant for asylum could circulate. The latter has the obligation to appear personally in front of the territorial commission for recognition of the protection, if summoned. Moreover, the effect of suspension to appeal against the decision of rejection of the commission is eliminated. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Immigration: EU Okays Sarkozy Pact, Tougher Rules

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 25 — The 27 EU member states have approved the ‘European Pact on Immigration and Asylum’, launched in June by Nicolas Sarkozy as one of the priorities of the French presidency of the EU. The agreement was reached unanimously by the European Interior ministers and envisages boosting the fight on illegal immigration and tightening of asylum procedures to avoid abuses. The signing is now expected to take place on October 15 when the summit of EU heads of state and government will be held in Brussels. Therefore, the objective of the Elysee to see the pact endorsed by the end of the year has almost been achieved. The 27 EU members have made five major commitments, according to the conclusions of the council of interior ministers. First of all, to organise legal immigration taking into consideration the need and the reception capacity of each member state. Second, to boost the fight on illegal immigration, assuring the immigrants’ return to their countries of origin or to transit countries. Amnesties for illegal immigrants should be considered only for humanitarian reasons, with each case being separately evaluated. Third, to tighten border controls and water patrols. Fourth, to prepare a common asylum procedure, guaranteeing protection to political refugees but strengthening controls over abusive requests. Finally, to create a partnership system between EU member states and the illegal immigrants’ countries of origin. French Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux, who currently presides the council of EU interior ministers, expressed his contentment, stressing that a good balance had been struck between turning Europe into a fortress or a sieve. “The fact that the agreement was unanimous and the pact was approved by a minister such as Maroni, after the same opinion was expressed by his predecessor Amato, shows that neither the differences between states nor the political differences can impede the general accord on an issue such as immigration.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Immigration: European Parliament Against Vote to Immigrants

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 25 — The plenary session of the European Parliament expressed today its opinion against granting voting rights to immigrants with long-term staying permits in the European and administrative elections. The result was reached thanks to the votes of the right-wing and the support of 27 socialist Euro MPs, who decided to express their opinion against the vote to the immigrants, in opposition with their party’s indications. Among them, there was also Alessandro Battilocchio, of the Italian socialist party, and five Euro MPs from PSOE, the party of Spanish Prime Minister Jose’ Luis Zapatero. The opinion against granting voting rights to immigrants was expressed through the suppression of an article, included in the report on the progress made in the field of justice, freedom and security in the EU, written by Belgian liberal Gerard Deprez, president of the Commission for justice, freedom and security in the European Parliament. The suppressed article was inviting the EU Commission to study the conditions to grant voting rights to immigrants in European and local elections, as a useful tool to improve integration. The amendment to suppress that article was suggested by PPE, the group of the European People’s Party, and approved with 268 votes in favour, 243 against and nine abstentions. The representatives of PPE, the Union of Europe of the Nations (UEN), which includes the League and AN, voted in favour, but the votes of the 27 socialists (and three liberals) who went against their party were decisive. Each member state decides whether to grant or not the vote to immigrants, but the Parliament can supply a political indication, in this case a negative one. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Immigration: Italy; Funding for New Identification Centres

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 24 — Taking into consideration the increase in the arrivals of illegal immigrants in Italy, the government yesterday allotted funds — a total 76 million euro over a three-year period — for the immediate construction of ten new identification and expulsion centres (CIE) in the regions where they are still lacking. This does not seem to be an easy task since various regions have already refused to allow the construction of such centres on their territory. At present the reception system of the Ministry of Interior accommodates 9,500 immigrants, of who only a little more than 3,000 in the official structures (CIE, reception centres for asylum seekers and reception centres). The rest are put up at 44 emergency centres in hotels and state-owned buildings. The decree law (which is operative but still has to be approved within 60 days by the parliament) is accompanied by two legislative decrees regarding reunion and asylum, which will take effect following their publishing in the State Gazette. A third decree, concerning the free movement of EU citizens, has not yet been approved by Brussels. As for the tightening of regulations regarding refugees, Maroni said “it is due to the fact that the increase of arrivals concerns mainly asylum seekers”. “We want to avoid any abuse of asylum requests as a way of remaining in Italy and to establish better control of these people with the prefect who should find accommodation for them.” Finally, as regards reunions, “there is a tightening with the limitation to spouses, children and parents, while health insurance or registration with the national health service is required for those aged above 65”, the minister said. “The objective is to avoid easy reunions only in order to obtain state benefits,” he added. Moreover, “it is established that tacit consent does not apply to asylum requests”, the minister added. Maroni has been strongly criticised by the opposition which claimed that the measures oppose to the Catholic Church’s position on immigration. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Immigration: 300 Rescued at Sea; Vatican Attacks Gov’t

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 24 — In the day when a shipwreck off the coasts of Malta caused numerous victims (ten dead bodies were rescued before the bad weather halted the operations) and when 300 migrants were rescued by a French ship from the FRONTEX mission south of Lampedusa, the Vatican launched a heavy attack against the Italian government’s immigration policies. The harsh comments came from the secretary of the Pontifical Council of Migrants, Monsignor Agostino Marchetto, who said that the government plays a ‘race to the bottom’. While, Monsignor Marchetto said, “in Europe there is an ongoing reflection aimed at achieving a common policy in relation to those asking for asylum and the refugees”, in Italy we see “unfortunately” a race to the bottom as regards the international commitments assumed in favour of the protection of persecuted people, whose human rights have not been respected”. “To me it seems that the last meeting of the council of ministers has preserved this same tendency. The decisions could have been worse, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Could this be a reason to rejoice? I would not say that. In fact, there is a tightening of asylum regulations and the explanations for that are not plausible, although it is true that the mixed flows of asylum seekers and immigrants cause complications for the authorities,” monsignor Marchetto said. A “no” to the measures adopted by the government has come also from Protestants who said they were “deeply worried by the regulations that render more difficult family reunion, which is an indispensable instrument for the complete integration of foreigners in Italy”. As regards the 300 immigrants who were rescued by the crew of the French frigate, there are no people in bad health among them. Those who needed medical care were moved on a patrol boat of the Financial Guard in order to be taken more quickly to the land. There are also women and children among the 300 immigrants intercepted south from the island of Lampedusa. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Immigration: Frattini-Maroni, to Implement Accord With Libya

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 24 — A wish that the agreement between Italy and Libya for joint patrolling in the Libyan territorial waters will be soon reached was expressed yesterday by both Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Interior Minister Roberto Maroni. “We expect that it will be reached,” Frattini said in New York, reminding that on August 30, on the occasion of the summit between Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi and Libyan Leader Gaddafi, “the commitment to sign this agreement” as soon as possible “was reaffirmed”, and that Italy is always ready to offer its patrol boats. “I hope that Libya can accept soon the agreement which envisages the sending of six Italian patrol boats with joint Italian Libyan crew to the coasts of the North African country; it would put an end to the landings on Lampedusa,” Maroni, in turn, said during a TV programme. In reference to yesterday’s polemics, “I said that when Libya decides, I hope soon, that the patrol boats can enter finally its territorial waters I would like to be aboard, because it is an important moment for the liberation of Lampedusa from this raging pressure,” Maroni underlined. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Immigration: Jesuits, Agreement Italy-Libya Ineffective

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 23 — The recent agreement signed between Italy and Libya is just a “brilliant commercial operation” with more than dubious social implications, especially for the emigrants, “who are running away from wars and famine”: this is what affirmed the Jesuits on their international monthly magazine ‘Peoples’, on Internet as of October 5. According to the article signed by the editor-in-chief Stefano Femminis, who quoted among other things statements gathered among the refugees and in the Libyan prisons, the authorities of that country are “accomplices in the traffic of immigrants” and the Italian government was wrong to trust Gaddafi so much, “a man who has been in power for 39 years without democratic elections”. The agreement, the article says, arouses “not at all rhetorical” doubts about the future of refugees and illegal immigrants. “The arrivals might continue, simply with higher fees because the dangers will be more”. “Rather than tackling the problem, they want to eliminate it”, the article concludes. The article, titled “The theorem of Benghazi” does not avoid merely political evaluations, remarking that the agreement aroused “the approval of the majority and, practically, the silence of the opposition: the core of the agreement was after all negotiated by Prodìs government”, it adds. “More oil, less illegal immigrants”: thus Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi summarised the deal, on his return from Benghazi, the magazine remarks. “The best quality oil”, the Jesuit magazine writes, quoting again Berlusconi “in exchange for illegal immigrants”, “bad quality goods, products without market, dangerous for the security, even when it is the head of a baby which emerges from the boats”. Among the doubts put forward by the Jesuits on the deal signed in Benghazi on August 30, there is the one about the destiny of those running away from famine and bombs, in the eventuality that the agreement works and “the European fortress manages to lock its borders”. “Wouldn’t it be more constructive to use money and diplomacy to promote peace, democracy and development in the Horn of Africa?”, it asks. Questions “which would have made sense if the intention to deal with the immigrants’ drama was sincere”. “However, instead being solved, the problem is aimed at being removed: the important thing is that illegal immigrants do not arrive here, to overcrowd the reception centres and disturb our consciences. Probably in decades’ time, in a world which hopefully would be much more attentive to the fundamental rights of people (illegal immigrants included) somebody would ask themselves why not other Africans be compensated for what we could do and did not do”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Over 200 Illegal Immigrants Head for Southern Island

Lampedusa, 26 Sept. (AKI) — The Italian coastguard on Friday intercepted a boat with at least 200 illegal immigrants on board south of the island of Lampedusa.

An Italian navy vessel was reported to be heading for the illegal immigrants’ boat 45 nautical miles from the island to transfer them to Lampedusa, near Sicily.

Earlier on Friday, coastguard officials rescued three illegal immigrants — two Palestinians and an Egyptian — aboard a wooden boat 22 nautical miles from Lampedusa.

All the illegal immigrants will be identified in the island’s holding centre.

During the summer months, the number of illegal immigrants heading for Europe’s Mediterranean countries including Italy, Spain and Malta surges.

Despite patrols of the North African coast coordinated by the European Union’s borders agency Frontex, hundreds of illegal migrants arrive each week aboard people smugglers’ boats in search of a better life in Europe.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

UAE: National Identity Endangered

(by Alessandra Antonelli) (ANSAmed) — DUBAI, SEPTEMBER 25 — Overshadowed by the skyscrapers that reinvented the profile of the United Arab Emirates, overwhelmed by massive international immigration, hushed by globalised languages and customs, the Emirates identity is a fragile entity that risks extinction, statistics have warned. The native inhabitants of UAE today represent less than 20% of the population, while foreign manpower stands at 90%, reaching its peak in Dubai, 97%. Forecasts for the future are not comforting either: on the wave of the already announced real estate and tourist development, UAE is expected to be the professional destination for even more millions of people in the next years and estimates see native population reduced to 2% in 2025. The proverbial hospitality of UAE, along with the need for special professionals for the economic take-off and maintenance of the country’s high standards have turned out to be a double-edged weapon capable of causing deadly wounds to the native identity and turning the native population of the seven emirates into a minority. The case of a local prominent personality who was not admitted to a luxury restaurant because he was wearing the traditional white gown (usually worn by the sheikhs as well), disrespectful for the Western tie and jacket dress code, is emblematic of a situation which has changed the demographic balance in the country over the past decade. The pressure of Western influences on local traditions and lifestyle has already assumed such dimensions that sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed al Nahyan has declared 2008 a year for study and discussion of the problem. A series of meetings and conferences have been held since the spring. The latest, which took place last week, was a widened assembly of the National Federal Council, the Parliament of UAE, which is working to draft a strategy to protect the Arab Islamic identity of the country. Apparently, what exactly is the Emirates identity is still to be defined, although the Culture Ministry has already issued three guidelines: religion, race and origin. In the meantime, along with a plan for Emiratisation launched in the field of employment, the authorities are preparing regulations and measures to remind their guests that they are in an Arab Islamic country: beginning with a ban on public kisses and scanty clothing in trade centres, as well as arresting those who have sex or drink alcohol on the beach, as were the cases of two foreign couples in the past weeks, one of them already sentenced, the other still awaiting the court’s ruling. The measures also include stiffening of sanctions for open homosexuality, mandatory bilingual menus in restaurants, translation of request forms from English to Arabic. Although Arabic is the official language, the one that is most spoken is Urdu, while the language de facto used daily is English. Along with the growing number of initiatives aimed at introducing and explaining local traditions, ranging from cuisine to religious values, the Education Ministry has proposed school curricula with stronger presence of history and Arabic and the National Federal Council has suggested better coordination of efforts so that, although limited in numbers, the people with Emirates identity remain the recognised and recognisable hosts of the 200 different ethnic groups guests of UAE. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]


Political Asylum for Christian Convert

Italy has granted political asylum to a Nigerian man who was sentenced to death by an Islamic court at home for converting to Christianity.

John O., 33, has been living in Italy since he fled his home in the Niger delta in 2005 after being sentenced to death based on Islam’s Sharia law.

The sentence was handed down for his refusal to succeed his father, an Islamic leader who died in 2003, and to abandon his newfound Christian faith.

A civil court here in this Adriatic port city granted the asylum request after he had seen it turned down twice, once in 2005 and again in 2007.

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

What is an “Islamophobe?”

By Brigitte Gabriel

For the past five years, I’ve been traveling the world in an effort to inform people about the threat of radical Islam. I have often been accused of “hate speech” and “Islamophobia.” The latest was in an article in the New York Times, where I was described not just as an “Islamophobe,” but a “radical Islamophobe.” This made me question what those terms really mean. What is the difference between “hate speech” and “free speech”? What is “Islamophobia” and who are the true “Islamophobes?”

“Hate speech” verses “free speech” is easy to define. All over the United States, so-called “progressive” individuals and groups berate the USA and Israel and in the process tell outrageous lies about both countries. That’s called “free speech.” When others, including me, tell the truth about the threat of radical Islam, that’s labeled “hate speech” by many of these “progressives.”

But what is “hate speech” and what is “Islamophobia”? When I describe the threat presented by radical Islam, I quote chapter and verse from the Koran and authoritative classical Islamic sources. When I describe the worldwide campaign of Islamist hate indoctrination against the West, and the mind-numbing mass violence committed and glorified by radical Islamists, I am relaying facts that have been published by print and electronic media outlets all over the world. Do some of the facts about Islamist supremism manifest “hatefulness?” Certainly.

However, it’s not my fault that the truth about Islamist supremacist teachings and edicts is that they promote hate. I wish they didn’t. But wishing doesn’t make it so (contrary to the belief of the New York Times). The Koran explicitly tells Muslims to hate (terrorize, subdue, oppress, and slaughter) the unbeliever until Islam is supreme in the world: “Your Lord inspired the angels with the message: ‘I am with you. Give firmness to the Believers. I will terrorize the unbelievers. Therefore smite them on their necks and every joint and incapacitate them. Strike off their heads and cut off each of their fingers and toes.’“ (Koran 8:12)

The Koran explicitly preaches that Christians and Jews are descended from monkeys and apes. In the more than 13 centuries since the emergence of Islam, this strict Islamic dogma has never been abrogated, amended or ameliorated. It is the Koran that is guilty of “hate speech.” I merely am the messenger exposing this hate.

Which brings us to “Islamophobia” and “radical Islamophobes.” According to the dictionary, the suffix “-phobe” comes from the Latin phobos, which means “fearing.” Do I fear radical Islam? You bet. Do any of these locales ring a bell? London subways. Madrid train stations. Bali night clubs. Beslan elementary school. They are all locations of horrendous terrorist atrocities committed by radical Islamists, with scores of civilian fatalities and hundreds maimed. I can name hundreds of other locales, from all over the world. If fearing radical Islamist terror makes me an “Islamophobe,” then I am an “Islamophobe” in its healthiest manifestation. In light of recent history, I submit that it would be (at best) foolhardy to be otherwise.

           — Hat tip: ACT for America [Return to headlines]

The Russians are Chasing the Somali Pirates

Those pesky Somali pirates may have made a mistake: they attracted the attention of the Russians.

By hijacking a Ukrainian freighter full of armament, the pirates have earned a visit from a Russian warship. The British are required by law to give captured Somali pirates asylum when they reach the UK, because the poor buccaneers may face persecution (!) if they are returned to their homeland, but one assumes the Russians will not be observing such niceties.

According to the AP:

Russian Warship Heads to Africa After Pirate Attack

A Russian warship on Friday rushed to intercept a Ukrainian vessel carrying 33 battle tanks and a hoard of ammunition that was seized by pirates off the Horn of Africa — a bold hijacking that again heightened fears about surging piracy and high-seas terrorism.

U.S. naval ships were in the area and “monitoring the situation” and a U.S. Defense Department official said Washington was concerned about the attack. “I think we’re looking at the full range of options here,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

It was unclear whether the pirates who seized the 530-foot-long cargo ship Faina on Thursday knew what it carried. Still, analysts said it would be extremely difficult to sell such high-profile weaponry like Russian tanks..

The hijacking, with worldwide pirate attacks surging this year, could help rally stronger international support behind France, which has pushed aggressively for decisive action against Somali pirates.

Russian navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo told The Associated Press that the missile frigate Neustrashimy left the Baltic Sea port of Baltiisk a day before the hijacking to cooperate with other unspecified countries in anti-piracy efforts.

But he said the ship was then ordered directly to the Somalia coast after Thursday’s attack.

– – – – – – – –


U.S. Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said the United States was worried about the ship’s cargo. “A ship carrying cargo of that nature being hijacked off the coast of Somalia is something that should concern us, and it does concern us. And we are monitoring the situation and taking a look at what the options might be,” Whitman said.


Roger Middleton, another Chatham House researcher, said it was unlikely the pirates knew there were tanks aboard the Faina, and also said unloading the cargo would be difficult. “Most of their attacks are based on opportunity. So if they see something that looks attackable and looks captureable, they’ll attack it,” he said.

Middleton said it was unclear how the pirates might react if confronted by military action, noting that they have fled from authorities in the past. On the other hand, he said, they are usually well-armed and organized and are based in an unstable country — Somalia. “It could potentially get pretty messy,” he said.

Previous posts about the Somali pirates:

2005   Nov   5   Barbary Pirates Redux
        8   Update on the Somali Pirates
        14   The Mother Ship
2006   Mar   24   The Jamaica-Somalia Connection
    Apr   8   The Taliban, Somali-Style
    Jul   5   Pirates in the Strait
2007   Jun   5   Somali Pirates Take Danish Hostages
        6   The Territorial Waters of a Failed State
        8   Q-Ships for the Somali Coast?
        11   Pirates Demand Ransom for Danish Seamen
        13   Q-Ships, Pirates, and the Waters off Somalia
        25   The Danica White Runs Out of Food and Water
    Jul   11   Gossip-Mongers in Denmark
        21   The Danica White: Eight Weeks and Counting
    Aug   22   The Danica White Has Been Released
    Nov   24   Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Snaps
2008   Apr   21   A Spanish Danica White?
        29   Reputed $1.2 Million Paid to Free Spanish Hostages…
    May   2   A No-Pursuit Policy for Pirates
    Aug   23   Targeting the Somali Pirates
        23   More on Task Force 150
    Sep   8   Danish Ship Averts Pirate Attacks
        11   Those Undeterred Somali Pirates

Hat tip: VH

The InterNazis

The term “Nazi” is an abbreviation of the German-language version of the phrase “National Socialist”, and referred to the totalitarian socialist ideology which arose in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s. The modifier “National” was applied to “Socialist” in order to distinguish Hitler’s brand of Socialism from Communism, which was “international Socialism”, as represented by the Comintern and directed by Stalin. The Nazis were very much Socialists, but wanted nothing to do with the vile cosmopolitan Bolshevik version of Socialism, which Hitler considered an alien Jewish ideology, unfit for his vision of the Aryan future.

Nazism was destroyed by the Allies in 1945, and Communism crumbled of its own weight in 1991. But International Socialism did not die. By the 1970s it had spread throughout the institutions of the Free World like a metastasized cancer in the body politic of Western Civilization.

Defiant Lion and EraserFS discussed the persistence of international Socialism in the comments section of one of the reports about last week’s debacle in Cologne, and then later on SIOE had this to say:

These Autonomers call themselves International Socialists, rather than National Socialists, as if nationalism is a bad thing. The operative word in National Socialism is not “national”, it is “socialism”. Socialism is always expansionist, and these Autonomers and their ilk are the new expansionist totalitarians, the real Nazis who support Islam; they are Nazislamists.

In their discussion, our commenters coined the neologism “InterNazi” for the modern incarnation of the International Socialist. I think the term will do nicely.


In 21st-century Europe, InterNazis can be found most frequently in the various chapters of Antifa, also known as Anti-fascist Action (with variants in several languages) or AFA. The affinity of Antifa for the Nazi ideology and iconography can be observed in the logos below.

Antifa logos

The stylized “A” in the middle symbol is a common logo for the Anarchists, of which the Antifas form a particularly virulent branch. The right-hand symbol with its lightning-bolt “A” is from the 1930s. It was used by the Nazis to represent the Sturmabteilung, the Storm Troopers, also known as the Brown Shirts. These were Hitler’s bully-boys, the high-spirited lads who took to the streets to beat up Communists, Jews, free-thinkers, and anyone else considered to be an enemy of the German people.

Is the resemblance of the SA symbol to the Antifa logo a coincidence? I have no idea, but it’s a fitting emblem for the thugs who beat up the Jews and little old ladies who came to Cologne last weekend to protest Islamization.

What bears the most striking resemblance to the methodology of the Storm Troopers is the symbiosis among the Antifa groups, the police, and local officials. The Autonomer are performing an identical function to that of the Sturmabteilung: they carry out illegal political violence on behalf of a totalitarian state which deems itself to be beyond the rule of law.

In this they also closely resemble the Comités de Defensa de la Revolución, the “Committees for the Defense of the Revolution”, a communist institution established in Castro’s Cuba. The Committees are allegedly “spontaneous” manifestations of popular outrage against the enemies of Socialism, and are employed to harass and intimidate any dissidents who dare to question the regime.

Unlike the Storm Troopers of 1930s Germany, the Antifas are international, and represent an ideology that explicitly seeks the destruction of the nation-state and the abolition of national identity. Their mission is to deconstruct the nations of Europe so that Socialist Multiculturalism may be implemented with a minimum of resistance.

Our Flemish correspondent VH has been thinking about these things, and he’s also been doing what I’d like to do, but don’t have time for: researching the European Antifas and all their ideological cousins. He sent me an email yesterday with an overview of the situation, and with his kind permission I am posting it below:


I share your interest in the Militant Left. Every now and then I dive into their agitprop, hoping to find a key to echo it back to them, but most of all to their potential recruits: the brainwashed adolescents and the ignorant Leftist enablers of Arabization.

A few notes:

There maybe were no more than a thousand or at most a few thousand counter-demonstrators in Cologne, maybe half of them Blackhoods, the rest ignorant Gutmenschen. They had a schedule; they practiced blockades way in advance, gave AFA training (never give your name!), sabotaged transport, moved around like regiments, used sympathizers in media-sensitive front lines, and only needed a few strategic locations and some pin-pointed violence to achieve the optimal effect.

Part of their success, I think, was the help of the Mayor. He didn’t kick them out of the city, but let them attack the Rhine-vessel, blockade bridges, and maneuver though the city to provoke blockades by the Police (after which only a handful demonstrators would be necessary to hold them). Also: The most important sound bites that made the paper were his.

I had a look at Dutch and Flemish Militant Leftist web sites and only found a few buses going out to Cologne. There was no mention at all of a significant amount of recruits/demonstrators. Add to that the possibility of some French AFA buses (Cologne is not too far from the French border), and the international contribution was maybe a few hundred Blackhoods. But motivated and well trained Blackhoods. And a command line with an awful lot of practice.

The Hard Left is still quite dominant in politics because there is no massive (virtual or physical) resistance to Socialist Totalitarians. This is partly due to their over representation in the bureaucracy, the media, and even the judiciary, but it is also due to the fraudulent teaching of history, the use of euphemisms, giving words opposite meanings, and demagogic tricks.

– – – – – – – –

Please find below a selection of some basis info I gathered on Antifa NL and BE, and the organization of “Cologne”. Maybe somewhere something might be of use.

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A few notes on Antifa Netherlands

Dutch anti-fascists to Cologne: I estimate maybe ca. 100.

Antifa Netherlands was founded in 1992 by Militant leftist squatters and works with Kafka [Kollektief Anti Fascistisch/Kapitalistisch Archief, founded in 1997 by — amongst others — former “peace” activists Bronkhorst and Eissens]. Kafka is a group that also derived from the Militant Leftist squatter-scene and sometimes is used by the government to make reports for them.

Note: UK — Searchlight:

International contacts are with — amongst the usual Anti Fascists — the British (Hard-line Communist) Searchlight (in their network is the Anti-Nazi League, a gang of violent Antifa thugs under command of the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party, though they are not mentioned in the Links-list).

Searchlight members are suspected of racism, organizing violent demonstrations and being fascists.

Quote from Final Conflict: “Maybe the link between Searchlight and AFA can be explained by a letter in ‘Fighting Talk’ #5 (mid 1990’s?). The letter is from an ex-62 Group activist and is full of praise for AFA’s violence. Remember, the 62 Group was run from Harry Bidney’s Limbo Club. So the fan-club of Bidney, the pimp, homosexual paedophile and criminal grows… What a surprise! In recent times even AFA and Searchlight have “fallen out”, despite Gable sharing the dock with Red Action’s leader, Gary O’Shea, for violence, in May 1991, against a mainly elderly audience at a League of St George meeting with Jeffrey Hamm, one of Mosley’s right hand men. Nationalists were held by RA members and beaten and tortured during this incident, though (to escape prosecution) Gable claims to have helped Hamm and tried to stop the violence — and if you believe that, you’ll believe anything! It would seem that even Red Action/AFA have had just about enough of Searchlight’s lies and obvious links to the Secret State.”

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The main opponent of Antifa Netherlands is the NSA/ANS (National Socialist Action/Autonomous National Socialists). These were amongst the first to protest the release of Fitna while Antifa followed later because they hate Geert Wilders anyway. They both accuse each other being Fascists.

Dutch Socialist Weimar battles are most often between these two Leftist competitors: Antifa and NSA/ANS. When NSA/ANS organizes a rally or event, Antifa — which claims to aim for a non-violent Socialist, non-Racist, Feminist anti Capitalistic society — attacks it with baseball bats, knives, the works.

In The Netherlands, Socialists have a multi-pronged stake to their disposal:

  • The street: RaRa [a terrorist organization, dissolved — its assumed member Wijnand Duyvendak recently had to step down as a GreenLeft parliamentarian for involvement in political crime; Onkruit (sabotage group); Anti-Fascists, Anti-Fascist-Action (AFA or Antifa), Squatters (most of them Militant leftists); International Socialists.
  • The media: Almost the entire MSM including the government subsidized TV channels, TV background programs (NOVA, Netwerk) and TV News (NOS Journaal, NOS Jeugd [Youth] Journaal).
  • Politics: GreenLeft (merger of Pacifists, Radicals, Communists and Evangelical Leftists and Trotskyites), the PvdA (Labour party, over represented in the bureaucracy) and the SP (Socialist Party, started as a side-branch of the Maoist movement) and the PvdD (Party for the Animals).
  • The Judiciary: Lawyers (the bureau Jansen & Jansen was founded by leftist activists and squatters and had connections with the leftist terror group RaRa and Onkruit); Böhler Franken Koppe Wijngaarden (who defends leftist activists like the murderer of Fortuyn, Volkert van de Graaf, and recently they have been the defense lawyers of Nuon Chea of the Khmer Rouge in the Cambodia Tribunal); Judges (the Judge who sentenced Van de Graaf to a very forgiving and short jail time, Frans G. Bauduin, was a former leftist environmentalist, activist, later member of the PvdA and became a Judge in the Yugoslavia Tribunal in 2005); Law Researchers (Coornhert Liga).
  • The Education system: The University of Amsterdam (UvA, many appeasers have studied at the UvA), Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) and the Wageningen University are known for feeding the leftist Bureaucracy-machine, including politicians and subsidized activists.
  • The Leftist Foundations: Nederland Bekent Kleur (Netherlands Admits Color) of the radical Trotskyite René Danen; Anti-Racist/Anti-Discrimination bureaus like the Magenta Foundation (connected to NACH, the International Network Against Cyberhate, and the MDI (Muslim Discrimination Internet, changed to Monitor Discrimination Internet) — The most important persons here are Suzette Bronkhorst and Ronald Eissens [who once stated “The German People are the most efficiently murderous people in the world”]); Third World groups (NGOs); Animal rights groups, and hundreds of other leftist and immigrant foundations.
  • The immigrant foundations and advisory clubs.

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There is also an, founded by “Nationalists”: In response to the Antifa exposure of Nationalists, they founded this Anti-Antifa website and expose Militant leftists. They also have a section on Leftist organizations, and a forum.

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A few notes on Dutch Antifa in relation to the action in Cologne:

Apart from the usual Antifa websites (for their structure see: Antifa Links), the central information medium is Indymedia.

Indymedia publicized the Cologne event in July this year and stated “We will nor allow an international racist meeting, nor permit the ‘pro Köln/Pro NRW’ to spread their racist propaganda in the campaign for Federal elections. Therefore we call all to prevent this Congress!”

They called for blockades and civil disobedience.

Following the call they mention on the same web page the international groups involved. Here’s a stunning list (scroll down).

For the Dutch part, (see on the same webpage under Antifa95 — 21.07.2008 12:20) they write: “Let us organize a bus for the trip to Cologne. It is ‘around the corner’ for us, and believe me, these demonstrations are very inspiring.”

“If there are enough people interested we will organize a bus (or more?) or else we’ll see if something can be done on an individual basis. If AFA Amsterdam or [AFA] The Hague wants to help, that’s quite ok. Oh yes, the call is for everybody who dislikes racists. It is handy if you leave party politics at home, but apart from that, all leftist and anarchist activists as well as the non-committed and anti-racists are welcome. Discu-nagging [discussion and nagging] you can do in the bus.”

In addition, they announced that the Autonomous/Communist G8 network was also involved.

Most interesting is that they had a pre-plan on July 21: Demonstrations in the vicinity of the “racists” and mass blockades on Saturday.

The German organizer (Antifa AK Köln) estimates the number of blockaders at 10,000 persons and the Congress participants on 50 to 100 persons.

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A few notes on Belgium:

Belgian Anti-Fascists to Cologne: I estimate maybe ca. 100.

The heir of Blokwatch (smear blog against Vlaams Belang, supported by a Leftist union), Blokbuster, writes on its site:

International mobilization to Cologne. Blockbuster sends minibuses to Cologne from Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, and Liege. Blokbuster will be present in Cologne with a delegation of 80 youngsters from the entire country [Belgium], “Amongst them two Iranian socialists who are active in the resistance against the reactionary Islamic regime in Iran, but also against imperialism.”.

There follows an interview with one of the Iranians, “Reza”.

They also offer an interview with Claus Ludwig, the Leftist Socialist [sic] City Councilor (for “Die Linke” — “The Left”) of Cologne.

He is a member of the SAV (Sozialistische Alternative, a Trotskyite organization) and LSP (Linkse Socialistische Partij — Leftist Socialist [sic again!] Party) and involved in the organization of the anti-Congress “protest” (but apart of that, against everything Pro-Cologne or Vlaams Belang anyway). This Extreme Leftist organization [LSP] is also involved in Blokbuster and has links with the violent Antifa. Interview with Claus Ludwig here.

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Note (from last Monday) on the Blackshirt “Operation Cologne” that started July this year:

What strikes me is that this Anti-Fascist Blackshirt operation has been planned very well and way in advance. In July Antifa published an instruction video for fresh recruits.

In early September Antifa issued a fancy “news” video filled with agitprop and the message to the recruits that “There will be sleeping facilities and there will be a cultural program here and in the vicinity of Cologne. To be prepared for the blockades, there will be blockade-training in the region.

That it was a sort of military operation not only shows in the time schedule they published, but also by their filing reports under the title Mediencommando [Media-Commando].

The organizers of the blockades opened a webpage for the ca. 500 arrested comrades and pressed people to send in witness reports. “Most of the arrested comrades have been transported to the city of Brühl [close to Cologne] and had their ‘freedom stolen’ for twelve hours, without being charged.” They want to file a complaint for the arrests to the municipality and the Police of Cologne.

Here is an interesting news item showing one of those Antifa blockades to the Haymarket in Cologne by some of the recruits (watched in their backs by Antifa soldiers). Some Gutmenschen are holding banners saying “Rascismus ist ein virus, sozialismus der anti virus” (“Racism is a virus, socialism the antivirus”).

A video of an Antifa attack, as has become quite usual these days, by a Leftist on an info-stand of Pro-NRW.

— VH

VH has done Gates of Vienna a tremendous service with his research. If you appreciate the information he has supplied in his report, please leave positive feedback in the comments.

Thanks to Fausta for help with the Spanish.

My Impression of the Cologne Event


Gaia is a reader from the UK who traveled to Cologne for the Pro-Köln conference last weekend. This is her report.

One of the things to notice in her account, as in so many others, is the classical fascist tactics employed by the “anti-fascists” and their tacit allies among the police and municipal authorities of Cologne.

My Impression of the Cologne Event
by Gaia

I arrived in Cologne on the evening of Thursday, September 18th, in the hope of gaining admission to the private, political conference as a colleague of Adriana Bolchini Gaigher, who had received an invitation to this session.

At 10 am on the morning of Friday 19 Adriana, her son and I were collected by car from our hotel by a young German man “Klaus” from near Essen, who had come to Cologne with his wife and mother, and who had been instructed to accompany us to the meeting. He drove us to the city of Leverkusen which is not far from Cologne, and parked in a location near to the River Rhine.

As we were walking from the car to the towpath besides the river to reach the location of the meeting, we were stopped in our path by a group of shouting protesters who linked arms in order to prevent us walking down the ramp. They were a mixture of male and female, shouting “Nazis, racists” etc. I managed to get past them, but Adriana, her son and the driver were surrounded and impeded from proceeding further. The driver Klaus was manhandled and pushed about as he tried to protect Adriana.

There were some police further down the ramp and after some minutes they belatedly ran up the ramp to sort out the melee that had formed (see the photo below). Rather than assisting Adriana, as a legitimate invitee, to pass the protesting mob, they told everyone to move away. At this point, as I would not have been able to gain access to the meeting without Adriana, I joined her and the rest of the group and we drove back to Cologne.


There was also a public rally in a nearby area of Leverkusen, and I believe it was at this location that Michael Kucherov was attacked. As fate would have it, he was picked up and rescued by car by the two BNP officials who had also tried in vain to gain access to the meeting.

In Cologne we managed to meet up with our German friend, Multikultur, and we spent the afternoon together.

At 6 pm we were all again picked up by our driver Klaus and taken to a location some 12 km outside Cologne, on the opposite side of the Rhine, where we were due to meet the delegates who had spent the day in the boat, the Moby Dick.
– – – – – – – –
There was quite a crowd of people waiting on the banks of the river, mostly respectable looking, elderly German people. We were then informed that the location for the dinner had been leaked to the counter-protesters and that it was no longer safe to go there. There was no sign of the boat, so the people on land walked along the banks of the Rhine until we came to a bierkeller, where we all sat down waiting for service. But before long, the proprietor of the establishment came to tell us that we were not welcome there and requested us to leave. Most left quietly, but Adriana protested vociferously with the proprietor and when she arrived outside, staged an impromptu rallying speech to the assembled crowd, which was warmly applauded. We were also pleased to meet up with Stefan Herre and Christine Dietrich of the blog Politically Incorrect.

We then returned by car to the city, which was totally sealed off to car traffic and difficult to navigate on foot. There were masses of police vehicles, armoured cars, and police forces from many German states.

On the morning of Saturday the 20th we had the option either to make our way early to the Heumarkt or to meet up at a rendezvous point at the airport station. At around 8.30 I decided to make my way directly to Heumarkt, where already groups of Antifa were arriving.

I got through the police barriers and met up in the square with Adriana, her son, Klaus, and Multikultur. There were barriers all around the square and a considerable police presence (see the photo at the top of this post). There was a large press contingency. The Italian MEP Mario Borghezio was there and a couple of representatives of Pro-Köln together with approximately fifty German citizens, some young but mainly elderly.. We also met three people from France, from the organization MNR Megret — Mouvement National Français (one of whom was blind), some Spaniards, many journalists from all over, including one from Poland who was very interested to learn whether Mario Borghezio had any contact with like-minded Poles.

After 10 am it became increasingly difficult for people coming to the Heumarkt to gain access. Before arriving at the police barricades where they had to make their case for entry to the square, they had to pass through thick layers of hostile chanting and drumming Antifa protesters. We heard by phone from Stefan Herre that the group coming from the airport had been stopped by counter-protesters and that there seemed little chance of them getting to the location of the rally in spite of a heavy police presence.

At 12 noon, the time the rally was due to start, it was obvious that the main bulk of the attendees would not arrive, so Mario Borghezio got up on the podium to speak, holding in his hand a copy of Oriana Fallaci’s book, The Rage and the Pride. But after only about 30 seconds the power was cut to his mike and an announcement was made that the rally was over and they immediately started to dismantle the podium.

We were then trapped inside the square. The only people given police escort away were Mario Borghezio and Adriana Bolchini Gaigher, who ended up in Bonn for a further 6 hours under “police protection”. The rest were penned into the square in “protective custody’“ and were not allowed to leave. I had struck up a conversation with a local German man “Fritz” and we, together with Multikultur, decided to try and get out using an old Press Card that Fritz had brought along. After an initial reluctance the police officer let us through the barrier and we made our escape through the quieter back streets, dodging in and out of the metro tunnels until we got past the counter-protesters and look the long way round to my hotel.

I understand that those remaining in the square had to stay there for quite some time until the police escorted them over the bridge to a barrage of shouts from the Antifa. They commandeered taxis which took them to the offices of Pro-Köln where they stayed, besieged, for several hours.

At my hotel we met up with AMDG and Adosinda, who had been unable to break through into the square, and later in the day we were joined by Stefan Herre and Christine Dietrich who had been stranded at the airport and we spent some good time together discussing the recent events.

One other point of note: an alternative rally in the Wallfaff Square had been registered with the police, with Ralph Giordano, Mina Ahadi and our old friend Udo Ulfkotte as speakers. They go under the slogan “The Third Force”‘ and want to position themselves between the Anti-Islamisierungs-Kongreß and the counter-demonstrators. AMDG came across this rally on his travels around the town. There were not very many attendees.

We tried all weekend to meet up with the organizer of the rally, Markus Wiener from Pro-Köln but were blocked at every point. It was our impression that the counter-demonstrators took the initiative on every occasion and the police were less than helpful in assisting the legitimate protesters in holding their event.

Spain: VIPS Prefers Foreigners

As I reported earlier this week, Spain and Italy are experiencing an unprecedented flood of migration across the Mediterranean from Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and points south.

But this isn’t sufficient for the Spanish company VIPS, which is actively recruiting Moroccan employees in preference to native Spaniards. According to Minuto Digital:

VIPS Wants Only Foreigners

(Translation by DC)

The shop and restaurant chain VIPS signed an agreement with the authorities of the Moroccan dictatorship to hire 2,000 of its subjects over a period of five years. Meanwhile Spanish youths suffer the highest rate of job insecurity in the EU.

There are two groups of people who support uncontrolled immigration: the Left, to engage new voters, and businessmen, to obtain cheap labor. They have also agreed to promote the entry of Turkey into the European Union. Business oligarchs and progressive lords, united

Plácido Arango, who inherited the leadership of the group from his father, would rather hire Moroccans than Spaniards, Ibero-Americans or Community Europeans.

The directors of the VIPS group, owned by the family Arango and with nearly 300 stores in Spain, a framework partnership agreement signed in Rabat with the Moroccan National Agency for Employment Promotion, by hiring 2,000 Moroccan workers until 2011.

In 2001, the VIPS group signed another agreement with the Agency in effect between 2004 and 2008 to recruit 1,000 subjects of Mohamed VI. In just two years, VIPS incorporated in its staff those 1,000 Moroccans, and now wants more.

Why Teach Them Spanish?

VIPS and the Moroccan State Agency are in charge of the selection of employees, training them and even teaching them Spanish. So why does VIPS not try to employ Spanish-speaking workers? It would be save money and time, although perhaps they compensate the Moroccans with lower wages than those the Spanish subsidiaries would charge.

– – – – – – – –

Will Placido Arango give a party to its employees on the birthday of the Moroccan Sultan Mohamed VI? And in Ramadan? Arango is included in the list of Spanish friends of Morocco, as elaborated by this newspaper.

Another question is: how do Moroccans — like almost all Muslims — agree to work with pork and alcohol?

Those who go to the chain restaurants have noticed in recent years a decline in the quality of service and food. Is it due to the personnel policy of hiring untrained immigrants who rotate constantly? 67% of the staff of the group is foreign-born. If VIPS do not want Spaniards in its template, why does it wants them as consumers?

7,000 Employees of Foreign Origin

But if VIPS thought the massive recruitment of foreigners at the expense of the Spaniards could come cheap, it was wrong. About 150 employees of the Group VIPS has gathered in the Madrileña plaza of Spain to denounce the “subhuman” conditions of immigrant employees of the company, about 7,000 employees, 67% of the total.

The spokesman for CCOO, Hassan Aimani, has complained that workers in hotels and in the trade company suffer low wages, longer working hours, unpaid overtime or suppression of the freedom of association. Is that why VIPS do not want Spaniards?

Norway: Cops in Hijab?

Police in hijabAs Muslim populations in the West have increased, the wearing of the hijab has become a matter of contention. Some of the issues are:

  • Should the jilbab or burka (which prevents facial recognition) be allowed on public transportation?
  • Is it unreasonable to forbid the hijab under school dress codes?
  • Should non-Muslim women cover up when in the presence of Muslim men?
  • Should police officers and other uniformed government personnel be permitted to wear hijab?

Some European countries, notably Britain, allow policewomen to wear the veil, but others forbid it. Norway is in the process of making a decision on the issue, according to VG Nett, as translated by our Norwegian correspondent The Observer:

The Norwegian Police Directorate is considering allowing female police officers to wear hijab.

A 23-year-old woman from Sandnes in Rogaland has sent a letter to the directorate asking them about their policy on female police officers wearing hijab on duty.

The 23-year-old woman, who is originally from Algeria, arrived in Norway eight years ago and wants to become a police officer. However she fears that her career choice may not be fulfilled as she wears a hijab, a decision that she made a couple of years ago.

A spokesperson for the police directorate, Marianne Østensen, tells the local newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad that the directorate doesn’t wish to comment on this particular case while it’s up for review. The directorate is currently looking at how other countries national police forces are dealing with the issue.

– – – – – – – –

The written request is the first of its kind. The national police academy’s recruitment office has received similar inquiries, but these have always received negative replies.

In Sweden and England female police officers are allowed to wear hijab on duty.

“We implemented this policy many years ago, and it’s not an issue here anymore,” a representative from the recruitment office of the Metropolitan Police in London says.

Female police officers in Denmark are not allowed to wear hijab.

It’s important to remember that, collectively speaking, all of these hijab requests are probes. The results of each probe tell the Ummah where an infidel country is strong and where it is vulnerable. When a vulnerable spot is detected, it is probed again, and again, and again.

The fact that the UK gave in on the hijab issue so easily is one of the reasons why so many additional Muslim demands ensued, which is part of why Britain is so thoroughly Islamized today.

Mad Jad’s Night on the Town

Last night President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was honored by various pacifist religious groups with an Iftar dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. According to The Jerusalem Post:

Several hundred people — including a Jewish rabbi and a radical Muslim cleric — joined Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a traditional breaking of the Ramadan fast Thursday before he left New York.

Outside, several hundred people gathered along 42nd Street across from the Grand Hyatt Hotel, next to Grand Central Terminal, waving Israeli flags and signs reading “No feast for the beast.”

Among the speakers addressing the demonstrators — and the crush of evening commuters who paused outside the train station to listen — was MK Aryeh Eldad, who exhorted his listeners not to “wait in vain” for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian threat.

“We know that we can trust no one but ourselves, and we will stop you, be sure, in whatever way we can,” Eldad cried. “Your end, your end, Ahmadinejad, will serve as a lesson for any anti-Semite.”

Inside, well-dressed guests lined up in the Hyatt’s plush lobby and chatted amiably while waiting to go through tight security on the way into the ballroom, where Ahmadinejad was scheduled to appear alongside the president of the United Nations’ General Assembly, Nicaraguan diplomat Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann.

The controversial event — an Iftar meal to break the Ramadan fast, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan — was organized by a coalition of pacifist churches and billed as an interfaith dialogue on the topic of “the significance of religious contributions to peace.”

The “Stop Ahmadinejad” website has posted a report on the dinner — evidently the people who organized the rally had someone on the inside.

The most appalling fact to emerge is that one of the honored guests was Nihad Awad, the founder of CAIR and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Here’s what Stop Ahmadinejad has to say:

Below is a pdf of the Hyatt Ahmadinejad Iftar Dinner program (2 pages) distributed to attendees — text of the program here in html.

Page 1 of the 9-25 Hyatt Ahmadinejad Dinner: (title page, credits page) (pdf)

Page 2 of the 9-25 Hyatt Ahmadinejad Dinner: (Program and speakers) (pdf)

One of the featured keynote speakers was Nihad Awad, Founder and Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial (newly re-started) on funding for terrorism. The Investigative Project reports extensively on Nihad Awad’s background as a supporter of Hamas, with strong evidence that Awad opposes Israel and does not support U.S. peace initiatives in the region. Before founding CAIR, Awad was public relations director for the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) in 1993 and 1994. Review the Investigative Project’s entire excellent 10-part series on CAIR; below is an excerpt from their profile on Hyatt keynote speaker and CAIR founder Nihad Awad:

“U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler found that the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”) has acted in support of Hamas. Included in that support was the IAP’s publication and distribution of Hamas documents, including its virulently anti-Semitic charter. In November 2004, a federal magistrate judge held IAP civilly liable for $156 million in the 1996 shooting of an American citizen by a Hamas member in the West Bank. The judge found that IAP had “published and distributed an abundance of pro-Hamas documents.” The U.S. Appeals Court in the Seventh Circuit overturned the award in December 2007 after determining the Boims had not done enough to establish that the groups’ support for Hamas contributed, even indirectly, to their son’s murder. The case was sent the case back to the district court to allow for additional proceedings.

– – – – – – – –

Evidence released in the 2007 HLF trial reveals that IAP was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee” in the United States. According to an internal Brotherhood report, the Brotherhood created the IAP to “serve the cause of Palestine on the political and the media fronts.” An internal memo calls on the Palestine Committee members, to work to “increase the financial and the moral support for Hamas” to “fight surrendering solutions,” and to publicize and focus on “the savagery of the Jews.”

Given the opportunity to distance himself from IAP in September 2003 Senate testimony, CAIR Executive Director Awad instead chose to defend the group: “The Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP) is a grassroots organization which continues to function legally and has only been ‘linked’ through allusion and no charge of criminality has been brought against the organization.”

Keep an eye on Stop Ahmadinejad for more news on this topic as it develops.

The little soirée in New York last night was yet another instance of the Demonic Convergence, the merger of the extreme Left and radical Islam. Notice that for the occasion the Sunnis and the Shi’ites — Hamas and Iran — managed to shelve their differences in order to plot the ascendancy of Islam and the destruction of the infidels.

Once the West is vanquished and the World Caliphate is established there will be plenty of time for them to resume the slitting of each other’s throats. In the meantime, they’re ready to do business to their mutual advantage.

It is truly an indictment of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the State Department that these agencies enabled — indeed, ensured — that CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, met and presented with Ahmadinejad last night.

Apparently our government’s allegiance to the Saudis so exceeds their allegiance to the safety of the American people that we now have a new meaning for the 9-11 Report’s recommendation for “connecting the dots”.

It no longer means having better intelligence. Instead it means helping Ahmadinejad — the head of what the State Department identifies as a terrorist state — get connected with Nihad Awad. It means connecting the head of the Hamas front group CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator for terrorism funding in the newly re-started Holy Land Foundation Trial, with a leader who calls publicly for the destruction of Israel.

Nice dots. Nice connection.

Hat tip: Lionel.

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/25/2008

September 11 Suspect Calls U.S. Trial “Inquisition”
Europe and the EU
Ayaan Hirsi Ali Files Lawsuit Over Security Costs
Climate: EU Efforts Useless if Southern Coast Doubles CO2
Cologne’s Speech-Killing Politico’s Reek of ‘Fascism’
EU Mission Supports Palestinian Police
Islam: Communities Live Silent Revolution, Tariq Ramadan
Teachers Report Sexism Common in Swedish Schools
UK Demands That EU Closes ‘Bogus Marriages’ Immigration Loophole
Bosnia: Muslim Leader’s UN Speech Sparks Controversy
Clashes End Bosnia’s First-Ever Gay Festival
EU-Serbia: Ready for Unilateral Application of ASA, Dacic
Slovenia: Elections, Pahor’s New Left Wins
Young Men Attack Gay Festival in Bosnia
North Africa
Egypt: After Killer Landslide, Survivors Rage Explodes
Tunisia: Muslim Women’s Body Stranded in Christan Cemetery
Israel and the Palestinians
Israel: Government to Create New ‘Anti-Jihad’ Authority
The Evolution of Israeli Media
Middle East
Dubai Beach Sex Trial Reflects Cultural Divide
Iran: ‘Barbie’ Doll Beats Islamic ‘Sara’
Jordan Receives First Shipment of Iraqi Oil
Transsexual Turkish Singer Takes on the Army
Turkey: Mediz Campaigns to End Media Gender Discrimination
South Asia
Hindu Radicals Set Fire to Jabalpur Cathedral, Threaten New Attacks in Madhya Pradesh
Immigration: Spain; TV Campaign Restores Image of Romanians
Immigration: French Ship Rescues Barge South of Lampedusa
Culture Wars
Monty Python’s Life of Brian Can Finally be Shown in Torbay
Human Rights: Turkey Sentenced in Strasbourg
‘Messenger of Allah Unites US’ Campaign Forms ‘International Legal Committee’ to Defend Islam
Siné: ‘Satire Has to be Iconoclastic’
Syria: EU Concerned With the Human Rights Situation

Thanks to Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Henrik, Insubria, JEH, KGS, Steen, TB, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
– – – – – – – –


September 11 Suspect Calls U.S. Trial “Inquisition”

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) — The suspected planner of the September 11 attacks denounced the Guantanamo war crimes court as an “inquisition” and failed to persuade the U.S. military judge on Wednesday to disqualify himself as biased against Muslims.

“We are your enemy,” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told the judge, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann. “You are an officer in the United States armed forces … Myself and my brothers will be judged by the same armed forces that are killing our people.”

Mohammed spoke in English as he outlined objections at a pretrial hearing to Kohlmann on behalf of himself and four accused September 11 co-conspirators, who face a potential death sentence if convicted.

Mohammed accused Kohlmann of disrespecting Islam. He said the judge lacked capital-case experience and that his service from 1995 to 1997 under the officer who is now the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo means he could not give the suspects an unbiased hearing.

Mohammed also said Kohlmann’s plans to retire on April 1 could lead him to unfairly rush the case.

“I would never believe that you are capable of presiding over this case,” said Mohammed, who was acting as his own attorney. “In your eyes I am Islamic extremist.”

“We are part of an inquisition rather than a civil or military case,” he said.

Kohlmann denied the disqualification request on all grounds and said four times the defense accusations were “completely wrong.”

Summing it up, he said, “I find that I am qualified to serve as the military judge in this military commission.”

The challenge to Kohlmann came after a round of defense questioning on Tuesday that is a unique feature of military courts and the tribunals established to try terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba.

           — Hat tip: JEH [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Files Lawsuit Over Security Costs

Ayaan Hirsi Ali wants to force the Netherlands to continue paying for her security. The Hague stopped providing payments for the former MP because she moved to the United States. However, she insists that the Dutch government promised to continue paying. The former politician has been receiving death threats for years because of her continual criticism of Islam.

In order to try and prove that the Netherlands did make promises on her security, Ms Hirsi Ali has asked a court in The Hague to hear a number of witnesses. The first, a former political assistant of hers, will be heard this week.

Her political patron, former minister Gerrit Zalm, and the former National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism will be questioned later.

After these preliminary hearings, Ms Hirsi Ali and her lawyer will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to initiate proceedings against the Dutch state.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Climate: EU Efforts Useless if Southern Coast Doubles CO2

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 22 — The European strategy to achieve the objectives set by the Kyoto Protocol will be useless if the southern Mediterranean coast fails to join the efforts in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. According to a study by the European Investment bank (EIB), while the North will cut by 20% the emissions by 2020, in the same period the South will double its emissions. Thus the EIB warns that the investments in the sectors which produce the most CO2 such as industry, transport and construction must be reviewed immediately. Since March 2007, the European Union has been pursuing the goal of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions: 20% less CO2 emissions compared to 1990 by 2020 and at the same time 20% more energy produced from renewable sources compared to 2005. All this while the southern Mediterranean would increase its gas emissions by 50% by 2020, the EIB study shows. Such increase will hardly be a surprise because it is in line with the process in the past: from 1990 to 2004 the countries from the southern coast produced 58% more carbon dioxide or 20% above the average on global scale. The emissions in the North have grown by only 18% in the same period. The biggest increase was registered in the emissions linked to the use of energy. Starting from 1990, electricity and heating are the major culprits for the increase of CO2 in the southern Mediterranean (38% of all emissions), while the transport, which is linked to the level of wellbeing, makes more damage in the North where it represents the main cause for the increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the last decades (29% of all emissions). However the South is catching up in this sector too. According to the EIB report, the increase in the emissions is one of the main causes for the warming of the planet of which the Mediterranean will pay the highest price. According to UN data quoted by the EIB, in 2080 the temperature will increase by 2.2 to 5.1 degrees compared to today, while the rainfall will decrease by between 4% and 27% (while in northern Europe it will increase by 16%). The periods of drought will multiply and will be accompanied by frequent heat waves and violent floods more dangerous due to the sea level, which will rise by 35 centimetres by the end of the century. In order to make the fight against climate change more efficient, the EIB believes that it is necessary to involve the countries from the South reviewing the investments in development in the light of the new needs against pollution. ‘‘With the rapidly growing population and economy, if the investments and development strategies continue in the same rhythm as in the last 30 years, the southern Mediterranean will face a particularly high rise of the emissions,’’ the EIB report reads. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Cologne’s Speech-Killing Politico’s Reek of ‘Fascism’

by Diana West

Readers of my blog ( know that over this past week, as a maelstrom of buffeting economic crises has sucked the air out of the news atmosphere, I have been all-but-transfixed by events unfolding in the German city of Cologne. With the unabashed fascination of the rubbernecker, I have watched in horror, combing online foreign press reports and a few favorite blogs (Brussels Journal, Gates of Vienna, Atlas Shrugs), as local authorities yielded their charge of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly — indeed, yielded civic space and civic peace — to a lawless band of violent leftists, who, in their weekend stint of mob rule, successfully prevented a political rally against the Islamization of Europe from taking place.

What’s more, these same authorities, including the mayor of this fourth-largest German city (about 1 million people), yielded to the mob happily and with much self-congratulation. Indeed, Cologne Mayor Fritz Schramma called the episode “a victory for the city of Cologne and a victory by the democratic forces of the city.”

Schramma may well count squelching peaceful political discourse with a violent mob as a victory for his city, but there is nothing “democratic” about it, or about the “forces” responsible. This twisting, weasel-use of language, however, is only one example of the campaign of disinformation waged against reality in Cologne this past weekend.

In brief, elected officials from several different countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy), politicians who campaign and win elections on the politically incorrect issue of resistance to the spread of Islamic law (Sharia), were invited to speak in Cologne.

Why Cologne? After a long and contentious battle, the city council last month narrowly approved the construction of a giant mosque complex funded by a group called the Turkish-Islamic Union to serve some portion of the city’s 120,000 Muslims. While the American take on any house of worship going up is generally one of approval based on a straightforward belief in freedom of religion, in Europe, given the heavy influx of Islamic populations, there is a political and legal dimension to such mosque construction that we just don’t recognize here. For example, Germany’s Muslim population is largely Turkish; and it is Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is infamous for having said in 1998, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.” Such a declaration of, well, religious war from someone who is now a head of state adds the threat of conquest to any serious mosque debate.

And that’s not all. Earlier this year in Cologne, Erdogan declared before 20,000 cheering Turkish expatriates that “assimilation is a crime against humanity.” On that same trip to Germany, the Turkish leader also proposed the German formation of Turkish-language schools. What’s going on here? If Turkish assimilation is out, is Turkish colonization in? Isn’t it the duty of politicians to debate these and other transformational questions within the political process? As a crossroads of Islam and Europe, as a frontline in the colonization of Europe, Cologne becomes the logical meeting-place for such a debate.

But it wasn’t to be, not in “democratic” Cologne. As some 1,500 Europeans prepared to assemble to listen to the political opponents of Islamization make speeches last weekend, many more thousands of counter-demonstrators converged on the city specifically to deny rally supporters their right to assemble, and the politicians’ right to speak. And yes, by whatever means necessary…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

EU Mission Supports Palestinian Police

Two years ago Brussels set aside 150 million euros to build up the Palestinian police force -a complicated and difficult process considering the circumstances on the West Bank. Around eight months ago something strange happened at an Israeli checkpoint outside the city of Beit El on the West Bank.

A Palestinian man jumped out of a car in a long queue of vehicles. He screamed at the Israeli soldiers and ran towards them. Fearing a suicide attack the Israelis opened fire. The man was killed instantly. Later it emerged that he was being transported to prison by Palestinian police. In the queue for the checkpoint, he managed to escape.

The incident is typical of the problem faced by the Palestinian police force. Israel does not allow Palestinian police officers to cross their checkpoints in uniform or carrying weapons. The arrestee was not wearing handcuffs, because there are only 70 pairs of handcuffs available to 7,000 Palestinian police officers.


With insufficient equipment and poorly trained staff, the Palestinian police are trying to maintain law and order in the chaos of the West Bank. The police are only allowed to operate in certain parts of the region, and when it comes down to it the Israeli army is ultimately the boss. Naturally, this undermines the authority of the police among the Palestinian people.

This is the police force which is supposed to take over, should Israel ever decide to withdraw from the Palestinian territories. To help it prepare, the European Union has set aside around 150 million euros to build up the Palestinian police force. The money has been used to set up the mission EU Pol Copps (EU Police Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support). More than 50 police officers from 18 different countries have been given the task of preparing the Palestinian police to stand on their own two feet.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Islam: Communities Live Silent Revolution, Tariq Ramadan

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 24 — “I decisively affirm that the Muslim communities are still living a silent revolution (intellectual, psychological and social) which can be touched with hand.” Tariq Ramadan, in an article on Riformista with which he begins his collaboration with the newspaper edited by Antonio Polito, anticipates the topics of his latest book ‘Islam and Freedom’ which is being released these days in Italy by Einaudi. “There are already millions who are European citizens (also American, Australian, etc,): they speak the language of the country, they respect its laws and are loyal to their nation (although they could be critical on the front of political choices as any citizen could be)… the new visibility of the Muslims is not a sign of community isolation but a sign of an ever more effective integration,” he writes. “I defend the idea we have now to pass, on a religious and cultural plan, to the stage of ‘post-integration’: the success of integration consists in stop speaking about integration,” Ramadan continues. “And this is not the road taken by the politicians: involved in media and populist escalation, they, both on the right wing and on the left wing, left themselves being dragged by the passion of controversies and by the use of news which would prove that the Muslims are ‘not able to integrate’, as it was said at the time of the Italians of Switzerland or of the Poles in France in the 1960s.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Teachers Report Sexism Common in Swedish Schools

A new survey shows that 73 percent of Sweden’s teachers feel they’ve experienced disturbing examples of sexism while on the job.

In addition, 58 percent of the teachers surveyed said that they hadn’t received adequate training or preparation in questions related to basic values.

Every fourth teacher also reports that they witnessed situations at school relating to racism, xenophobia, sexism and/or homophobia.

The results come from a study carried out by the Sifo polling firm on behalf of the National Union of Teachers (Lärarnas riksförbund) and published in an article by union chair Metta Fjelkner and Eva Swartz, head of the Natur & Kultur foundation, in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Sifo conducted in-depth interviews with 500 elementary and high school teachers about their views on how schools deal with issues related to basic values.

Nearly 90 percent believe their own schools aren’t especially active and nearly one in three say the leadership at their schools aren’t actively engaged in questions of basic values.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

UK Demands That EU Closes ‘Bogus Marriages’ Immigration Loophole

Britain has demanded that the European Union moves “quickly” to shut a legal loophole that gives residence rights to illegal immigrants who have entered into bogus marriages.

Liam Byrne, the Immigration Minister, teamed up with the Irish and Danish on Thursday to express “extremely strong views” on a landmark European Court of Justice ruling that boosts the rights of non-Europeans married to EU citizens to move and freely reside within Europe.

“We are crystal clear that there is a risk of injustice that flows from this judgment and that is something we are not prepared to see,” he said.

“The European Commission has to clarify, quickly, how the spirit of this Directive is to be implemented.”

July’s “Metock” judgment used a 2004 Freedom of Movement Directive to overrule an Irish law which did not allow spouses of EU citizens who are not Europeans to live in Ireland if they had not previously lived in another European country.

Officials are concerned that the ruling will open the door to illegal immigrants that enter into “sham” marriages of convenience to get the right to live in Britain.

Dermot Ahern, Irish justice minister, has identified “significant misuse” of the EU rules with “marriage patterns that are so statistically abnormal that they cannot have occurred by chance”.

“It is clear that we now have a strong incentive for marriages of convenience, opportunism or coercion as a method of cleaning the slate for an illegal migrant or failed asylum seeker,” he said.

Jacques Barrot, European Justice Commissioner, has admitted that that the EU court ruling has created a loophole for illegal immigrants.

“What we need to do is understand how serious a problem sham marriages are and then to see if we need new guidelines,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Henrik [Return to headlines]


Bosnia: Muslim Leader’s UN Speech Sparks Controversy

New York, 24 Sept. (AKI) — A Muslim member of Bosnia’s rotating presidency has provoked a controversy after demanding the abolition of the Serb entity, Republika Srpska, and correcting what he called ‘war errors’, during his speech before the United Nations.

Haris Silajdzic, who currently chairs Bosnia’s three-man rotating state presidency, told the General Assembly on Tuesday that the RS was “created by genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina”.

Silajdzic also added that the “UN should correct the errors made during the war in Bosnia and send a clear message that the genocide will not be rewarded”.

The statement provoked immediate condemnation by Bosnian Serb leaders who called for an emergency meeting of the RS Parliament to take a position on Silajdzic’s speech.

The session was set for 7 October, but RS opposition parties said it was an intolerably late date.

According to the Dayton peace accords which ended the 1992-1995 civil war, Bosnia was divided into two entities, the RS and a Muslim-Croat Federation with most state prerogatives.

But majority Muslims and the international community have been pushing for the abolition of entities and the creation of a strong central government.

RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik said Silajdzic’s speech represented his own views, and not those of the presidency, comprising Muslim, Serb and Croat representatives.

Dodik accused Silajdzic of “trying to devalue any attempts of a consensus in Bosnia-Herzegovina”, saying Muslim political parties have started “an orchestrated campaign to destroy the Dayton agreement and the RS”.

Silajdzic has spearheaded the campaign since the International Court of Justice ruled last year that Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide in the eastern town of Srebrenica in July 1995, when up to 8,000 Muslims were killed.

Dodik responded that Bosnian Serbs would not accept the abolition of the RS or revision of the Dayton accords, but would sooner resort to a referendum on independence.

Silajdzic, on the other hand, said that the present situation amounted to “ethnic apartheid in Bosnia-Herzegovina” and was intolerable.

The high representative of the international community in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajcak, criticised Bosnian political leaders of tending only to their parties’ interests, instead of those of the state.

“I have seen only twice in my life the atmosphere like the one between Sarajevo and Banja Luka (RS’s capital),” said the Slovak diplomat.

“The first time it was in relations between Bratislava and Prague, and the second between Belgrade and Podgorica,” Lajcak said, referring to the separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Serbia and Montenegro.

“We all know how it ended,” Lajcak concluded.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

Clashes End Bosnia’s First-Ever Gay Festival

Dozens of Muslim protesters attacked participants of Bosnia’s first-ever gay rights festival in Sarajevo on Wednesday, injuring at least two journalists and one police officer.

The scuffle broke out at the end of the opening ceremony of the four-day festival in front of the Academy of Fine Arts in downtown Sarajevo.

Police said at least eight people were injured when attackers dragged some people from vehicles and beat others in the street. A policeman was also injured.

Sarajevo hospital said six people were admitted with head wounds and that a Danish visitor was the most seriously hurt.

“When I was getting out of the academy, I was suddenly struck in the back,” Pedja Kojovic, a local journalist, told reporters. “Three other people then came running and beat me up.”

Emir Imamovic, a journalist who tried to help Kojovic, was severely beaten, police said.

A heavy police deployment prevented more violence from spoiling the event, with a security cordon keeping protestors shouting “kill the gays” and “Allahu Akbar” (a Muslim expression meaning God is Greatest) at bay.

About 50 people participated in the opening day of the festival, which had already prompted fears of violence.

Islamic media campaigned this month against the organization of the festival during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and anonymous death threats were made against its organizers and media that supported it.

Organizers said the timing of the indoor festival of art, film and workshops about sexual minorities was coincidental.

Many, including members of various ethnic political parties, have declared homosexuality an illness and labeled the behavior deviant.

Sarajevo, known for centuries for the peaceful coexistence of its Muslims, Christians and Jews, became a majority Muslim city after the 1992-95 war.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

EU-Serbia: Ready for Unilateral Application of ASA, Dacic

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 24 — Serbia is ready to apply unilaterally the first points of the Agreement of Association and Stabilisation (ASA) signed with the European Union in April, but still frozen due to the veto of the Netherlands within the Council. The announcement was made today by the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, after the meeting with the Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn. “Serbia has considered the hypothesis of applying what envisaged by ASA and this is what we talked about today with the Commissioner”, Dacic said. Now a technical evaluation is needed, the Minister explained, to verify the real possibility to proceed unilaterally. Rehn assured that if Serbia took such a step, “it would do a useful thing for its citizens and the EU would take into account these efforts”. The EU, Rehn explained, is working to make progress on the liberalisation of visas, which will allow the Serbian citizens to move freely in the 27 member countries. “The Interior Ministers are focusing on reaching an agreement on the visas, but Serbia must adopt as soon as possible biometric passports”, Rehn specified. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Slovenia: Elections, Pahor’s New Left Wins

(ANSAmed) — LJUBLJANA, SEPTEMBER 22 — The new left wing led by Borut Pahor, has won yesterday’s elections in Slovenia, although by a slight margin, defeating the centre-right formation of outgoing Prime Minister Janez Jansa. The outcome of yesterday’s vote was the most uncertain in the history of Slovenia since its independence was proclaimed in 1991, and now a period of uncertainty is expected, although the centre-left wing has a political advantage due to the bigger possibility to build a coalition capable of obtaining the confidence of the new parliament in Ljubljana. The formation of the Social Democrat Borut Pahor, member of the European Parliament, won 30.49 percent of the votes, obtaining 29 seats in the 90-member chamber, with 99 percent of votes counted. Outgoing Prime Minister Janez Jansa, leader of the centre-right wing, won 29.32 percent, or 28 seats in Sloveniàs parliament. “This is the result of our moderate programme,” Pahor said, thanking Slovenians “for tripling the results of the party compared to four years ago”. In fact, Pahor’s Social Democrats (SD) always was the second or third party in the centre-left coalitions which, led by the Liberal Democrats (LDS) of the “fathers of Slovenian independence”, Milan Kucan and Janez Drnovsek, dominated the political scene in Ljubljana between 1990 and 2004. Now the roles seem to have changed and, in case there are no stage tricks, there will be a new left wing, moderate and social democratic, patiently built by Pahor, in which the old Liberals will be the minority partners. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Young Men Attack Gay Festival in Bosnia

SARAJEVO, Sept 24 (Reuters) — Bosnian police clashed on Wednesday with young men attacking the country’s first gay festival in Sarajevo.

Police said at least eight people were injured when attackers dragged some people from vehicles and beat others in the street. A policeman was also injured.

Sarajevo hospital said six people were admitted with head wounds and that a Danish visitor was the most seriously hurt.

Officers pushed dozens of young men away from the Academy of Fine Arts where about the same number of visitors attended the opening of the four-day Queer Festival.

Islamic media campaigned this month against the organisation of the festival during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and anonymous death threats were made against its organisers and media that supported it.

Organisers said the timing of the indoor festival of art, film and workshops about sexual minorities was coincidental.

In Bosnia, as in most countries in the Balkans, there is zero tolerance for homosexuals.

The young men, with hoods hiding their faces and some with long beards, yelled offensive words and also Allahu akbar (God is Greatest). Police said one attacker was detained.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Algeria: US Report, Religious Freedom Guaranteed, Minister

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, SEPTEMBER 23 — In Algeria “there is no restriction, the freedom of religion is guaranteed”, Algeria’s Minister for Religious Affairs, Bouabdellah Ghlamallah, said, commenting on a report published several days ago by the U.S. Department of State, regarding the waning religious freedom in Algeria, China, Jordan and Egypt. “These are lies aimed at damaging Algeriàs image,” Ghlamallah said at the opening ceremony of the 5th International competition for Koran chanting and interpretation, attended by representatives of more than 40 countries. “Algeria has always accepted and will always accept non Muslims who live in peace and without discriminations,” the minister added. “I assure Christians, both foreigners and Algerian nationals, that their religious freedom is guaranteed,” he said. The U.S. report refers in particular to the law against proselytising adopted in February which envisages between two and five years of prison and fines of up to 10,000 euro for those who “try to convert a Muslim to another religion by forcing them or using other means”. Numerous converts, especially Evangelists, have been tried in the past year on accusations of proselytising. “The USA refuses to let Islamic preachers enter its territory. How can we tolerate the evangelisation of Algerians when Evangelists belong to sects and even Catholics and Protestants distance themselves from them?,” Ghlamallah said. (ANSAmed).

2008-09-23 13:26

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: After Killer Landslide, Survivors Rage Explodes

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, SEPTEMBER 24 — Two weeks after the huge landslide which hit the district of Doweiga, in the suburbs of Cairo, the government decision to suspend the search for missing people triggered the explosion of the survivors’ rage. Amidst the tumbledown dusty streets of the shanty town of Manshiyet Nasser (under the administration of Doweiga) — hit on September 6 by at least eight huge stones, some of which up to 30 m long — it is impossible to walk, while the smell of badly decomposed bodies makes it difficult to breathe. According to Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram Hebdo, the established victims of the tragedy are reportedly 101, while tens of bodies are still buried under the rubble. Healthcare Minister Hatem Al-Gabali warned of the high risk of epidemics, particularly cholera, and disinfectants have reportedly been sprayed on the whole area. Despite the decision of the authorities to evacuate the area, many refused to abandon their loved ones under the rubble. “We want to bury with dignity our loved ones”, a woman, who has lost the entire family, shouted, while the representatives of the local administration visiting the area of the tragedy were met only by stones and insults to the government, accused of negligence and corruption. Negligence, many are saying, because the residents of the district had been informing the authorities for the past year about the continuous fall of stones. The few bulldozers supplied by the government are trying in vain to move the stones which fell from the mountain of Moqattam, which towers over the shanty town. “These stones weigh thousands of tons and it is difficult to move them without sophisticated equipment which the government should provide. Without adequate tools, it might take up to two months to clear the area, while the risk of new landslides is constantly growing”, Abdallah Abdel-Ghani, governor of the municipality of Manshiyet Nasser, explained. In order to establish the exact number of victims and shanty towns crushed by the landslide the government has asked to the Higher Education Ministry to request the images of the U.S. satellite Iconos. The municipality of Doweiga, in fact, is not able to specify the number of destroyed houses, since a real census of the houses does not exist; the houses were built in the district which grew chaotically after the defeat in the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, when many craftsmen left the capital. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Muslim Women’s Body Stranded in Christan Cemetery

Tunis, 25 Sept. (AKI) — A court has refused to consider a request from the family of a Muslim woman buried in a Christian cemetery in Sfax to move her body to a Muslim cemetery.

The court ruled that the request was beyond its jurisdiction, according to unnamed sources quoted by local media on Thursday.

The family applied to the court after the local council in the coastal city rejected their request.

The woman had a foreign surname, her parents were Christian, and there was no evidence she had converted to Islam, the local council argued.

The woman, whose first name was Assia was baptised a Christian but in 1955 converted to Islam when she married a Muslim, her family’s lawyer said.

Assia’s marriage certificate states her new religion but the Sfax City Council said this did not have the legal value of the certificate that Tunisian muftis (Islamic scholars) issue to Muslims.

The case breaks new legal and religious ground and is likely to spark an increasingly heated debate in Tunisia, according to observers.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israel: Government to Create New ‘Anti-Jihad’ Authority

Jerusalem, 25 Sept. (AKI) — The Israeli government has decided to set up a new authority to tackle the threat to national security posed by Islamist terror groups, Israel Radio reports.

The authority will be headed by the Israeli Defence Ministry’s anti-terrorism chief. Its members will include the chiefs of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency and its domestic spy service Shin Bet, as well as its security forces.

The authority’s purpose is to provide assistance and coordination between the various agencies. It will meet when required and at least twice a month.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

The Evolution of Israeli Media

Eytan Gilboa

This article surveys and analyzes recent revolutionary and evolutionary transformations in the Israeli media. It examines trends both in the traditional media—newspapers, television, and radio—and the new media—internet. The article provides data and analysis on media history, type, political and ideological orientation, ownership, regulation, funding, and popularity. It explores developments in the national and the local print media and in public and commercial television and radio networks. Special attention is given to the exponential growth in penetration and utilization of the internet. The article also examines past and current distribution of advertising revenues among the various media. The concluding section presents a balanced assessment of achievements and weaknesses in the Israeli media.


Since the late 1980s, Israeli media has undergone a complete transformation. Most of the political and ideological party newspapers disappeared, and the single public television channel has lost substantial audiences to new commercial television channels and to cable and satellite services. New media has stormed the country, and the ratio of Israeli households connected to the internet is one of the highest in the world. The media in Israel predated the official establishment of the state in 1948. Hebrew newspapers were an integral part of the Jewish revival in the land of Israel, beginning in the mid—nineteenth century. The first Hebrew newspapers were established in Jerusalem in 1863. Ha’aretz (The Land), one of the leading existing daily newspapers, was founded in 1918. The most popular daily today, Yediot Aharonot (Latest News), was established in 1939. Radio service in Hebrew began in 1936.[1]

, the Israeli media includes four general daily newspapers, three daily financial newspapers, hundreds of local papers and magazines, three national television channels, popular cable and satellite services, two public radio networks, 14 regional radio stations, and thousands of websites and portals. This diversified media world, especially in broadcasting and new media, has emerged only since the late 1980s, due to technological, economic, and political changes. Until the early 1990s, there was only one public television channel and two public radio networks. The political establishment resisted efforts to open up the electronic media market, because it exercised some political control and influence over the institutions regulating and operating television and radio broadcasts.[2] The revolution in communications technologies, the ability to broadcast—often live—from almost every place in the world to almost any other place, and the internet created global news networks, consumers, and economic interests. Accompanied by unprecedented prosperity in the Israeli economy, the communications revolution created enormous pressure on the government to expand the electronic media through privately owned commercial networks.

This article provides basic information on the Israeli media and traces fundamental transformations both in the traditional and new media. It first examines turning points in the print media, and then presents and analyzes changes in the electronic media, including television and radio. Data on exposure to newspapers and ratings of television programs and radio networks is also provided. The following section summarizes major trends in the new media. Most media channels rely on advertising revenues; the next section presents significant recent changes in the distribution of allocations. The last section includes a balanced assessment of achievements and weaknesses in the Israeli media…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Dubai Beach Sex Trial Reflects Cultural Divide

A recent beach sex trial in Dubai has exposed a growing cultural divide between native Muslims and Western residents seeking fun in the sun.

The story of a British pair facing possible jail terms on charges of having drunken sex on the beach made headlines around the world, but in Dubai, reports are frequent of hapless foreigners falling foul of local laws that strictly control drinking and ban homosexuality or kissing in public.

The British couple arrested on the beach had met at one of the many champagne brunches held in Dubai’s top hotels. They now face possible jail terms when they return to court for the next hearing on Oct. 7.

Dubai’s foreign population has expanded rapidly in recent years, dwarfing the native population, as the Gulf Arab trade and tourism hub tries to put itself on the international map with a promise of tax-free earnings and year-round sunshine.

But balancing its Muslim identity in a deeply conservative Gulf Arab region with the lifestyles of expatriates who comprise over 90 percent of its population is no mean feat.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Iran: ‘Barbie’ Doll Beats Islamic ‘Sara’

Tehran, 25 Sept. (AKI) — Iranian children seem to prefer the popular western dolls, Barbie and Ken, rather than the Islamic Dara and Sara dolls, that were created to instill Islamic values.

“This data is a clear sign of a failed policy adopted by the government with the aim of stopping the western cultural invasion,” said website ‘Tabnak’, which is close to Mohsen Rezaii, former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The Dara and Sara dolls are modestly dressed and wear Islamic garments, but have failed to make a name for themselves unlike their ‘western’ counterparts, Barbie and Ken, which can be found in one out of every two Iranian children’s rucksacks and notebooks, claimed Tabnak.

Dara and Sara were marketed by the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, a government agency with links to the Ministry of Education.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Jordan Receives First Shipment of Iraqi Oil

(ANSAmed) — AMMAN, SEPTEMBER 23 — Jordan has received the first shipment of Iraqi oil since the start of the 2003 war after it was transported by land from the war torn country, an official said on Tuesday. Nearly 18,500 barrels have arrived at the land borders between Jordan and Itaq, Khaldoun Quteishat, minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, was quoted by the official news agency, Petra. Jordan used to heavily rely on fuel from Iraq, receiving half of its needs for free and the other half at discount rates. Observers, however say the arrival of the shipment is symbolic as Baghdad attempts to publicise badly needed notion that the country is secure after five years of war. Diplomats say the oil is being sent to Jordan as a reward for a recent visit by King Abdullah to Baghdad last month, the first for an Arab leader since Saddam Hussein regime collapsed. Earlier this month, Jordan announced it will appoint an ambassador in Baghdad, almost four years after a suicide attack on its embassy in Mansour by al Qaedah, in which tens were killed and injured. Jordan is eager to improve its ties with Iraq on hope improving economic ties with the giant oil producers. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Transsexual Turkish Singer Takes on the Army

A popular Turkish transsexual singer who infuriated the country’s powerful armed forces by questioning a military campaign against Kurdish separatists told a court on Wednesday she would rather die than be silent.

Bulent Ersoy is on trial on charges of “turning the people against military service” in a case that has raised concerns about free speech in the European Union candidate, where criticizing the armed forces is taboo.

Ersoy, one of Turkey’s most famous singers, caused a stir in February by saying that were she able to give birth to a son she would not allow him to fight in neighboring Iraq, where the military had launched operations against Kurdish rebels.

Dressed in white flowing linen, golden gem-studded sandals and matching accessories, the flamboyant Ersoy struck a defiant tone at the court in Istanbul.

“I spoke completely on behalf of humanity. I will continue to speak and say the same things even if they execute me,” she was quoted as telling the judge by state-run Anatolian news agency.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Mediz Campaigns to End Media Gender Discrimination

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 22 — The Women’s Media Watch Group (MEDIZ), which is fighting to end sexism in the Turkish media, has published a book suggesting an organized struggle for the protection and enhancing of women’s rights in the Turkish media. MEDIZ, which was established in 2003 by 23 women’s organizations and has the sponsorship of the EU, has gathered its experiences, campaigns, conference papers and research in its book, titled “End to Sexism in Media,” which is available in both in English and Turkish. The book, as Today’s Zaman reports, points out that violence and discrimination toward women and the way these subjects are treated in the media are not only the issue of women but of society. MEDIZ suggests that media institutions and those working in the field should treat the violation of women’s rights as a social issue and engage in responsible reporting in order to prevent such violations. According to MEDIZ, the media are violating women’s rights in a variety of ways, such as using sexist language, invading women’s personal lives, revealing the identities of women who have been assaulted in sexual or violent crimes, making sexist judgments, questioning the morality and lifestyle of women assaulted in sex crimes, portraying women only as sex symbols and giving little time to stories on women. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Despite Curfew a Hundred Homes and Two Churches Set on Fire Overnight in Orissa

Christians are scared of night-time attacks. Radical Hindus attack police, guilty in their eyes of jailing some of their fellow co-religionists involved in violence in past days. Christians forced to reconvert are also forced to burn churches and homes of other Christians. Terrorism sponsored by the state of Orissa comes in for harsh criticism.

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) — About a hundred homes and some churches have been damaged and burnt last night in the district of Kandhamal (Orissa), where a wave of anti-Christian violence is into its second month with no end in sight. Despite police deployment and the arrival of special forces the rampage of radical Hindus bent on destroying all Christian institutions and riding the state of all its Christians has continued unabated. Even the curfew that was imposed on nine areas in the district has not stopped Hindu fundamentalists from destroying 30 homes and a church in the Sikacheta village; 20 homes in Telenga; and 55 homes and another church in Beheragaon.

Radical Hindu groups are demanding the release of some of their members jailed for their role in recent violence. And in order to get what they want they have attacked some police stations and blocked roads with trees to hamper police operations.

Under the circumstances Christians are truly scared that their isolation could facilitate further attacks.

Hindu fundamentalists claim that they are acting to stop conversions to Christianity by fraudulent means, including bribery.

Out in the villages they have threatened Christian converts with death and the destruction of their homes if they do not re-convert to Hinduism.

A source in Kandhamal district told AsiaNews that in one village all but six Christian families “surrendered,” i.e. reconverted, and were forced, as a token of their surrender, to torch the chapels and homes of other Christians.

Abraham Mathai, deputy chairman of the Maharashtra Minorities Commission, has called for the state of Orissa to be placed under direct presidential rule.

“The violence in Kandhamal has continued for 45 days now, unabated and unhindered by the state machinery,” he said in a statement released today. “Should we proclaim this State complicit with or a sponsor of mob terror?”

In his view “with an increase [in] anarchy and an impotent and dysfunctional State Government, the only way to contain this situation is to invoke Article 356 and dismiss the Orissa Government and hand over the administration to the army . . . . The inaction of the Orissa State Government to contain the violence thus far has only emboldened these communal forces to carry out similar attacks in other states viz. Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, etc.”

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Hindu Radicals Set Fire to Jabalpur Cathedral, Threaten New Attacks in Madhya Pradesh

Dharm Raksha Sena groups dare parish priest to stop their action. More destruction is planned. Violence is tied to BJP election campaign. Gathering is to take place tomorrow, bringing Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and moderate Hindus together in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh).

Bhopal (AsiaNews) — A group of Hindu extremists have set fire to Jabalpur’s Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral. Mgr Gerald Almeida, bishop of the diocese of Jabalpur, said he received threats announcing more attacks.

The attack against the cathedral occurred yesterday around 8.15 pm. Eyewitnesses said they saw three people fleeing the church area on motorbikes at high speed. After that they eventually realised that the building was burning. The fire destroyed the altar, the statues of Sts Peter and Paul, a Bible, missals, crosses and other precious holy items.

This is the third time in two weeks that a church has been set on fire in Madhya Pradesh. The other incidents took place in Ratlam and Indore district. A few days ago a convent of Carmelite nuns was attacked in Banduha.

In these cases police blamed Christians for the attacks even though all the evidence suggests that they are part of a wider anti-Christian campaign led by Hindu extremists that began in Orissa and that is now spreading to other Indian states.

For Fr Davis George, principal of the St. Aloysius College, the Hindu fundamentalist origin of these attacks is confirmed by the fact that “in all these cases members of the Dharm Raksha Sena were involved. Led by Yogesh Agrwal, the members of this group introduced themselves yesterday morning to Father Rocky, the cathedral’s parish priest, and threatened to burn to church, daring him to stop them, if he could.”

As soon as news of the fire spread, at least 3,000 faithful gathered in and around the church, demanding justice, blocking downtown streets.

According to Marko Anthony, joint secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Joint Christian Forum (Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasang), the “police knows the culprits, but is protecting them. We shall not allow all this.”

Some faithful said that members of the youth wing of this Hindu extremist group came to the cathedral on 31 August to burn the Pope in effigy. Following this incident the local government deployed police agents around churches and convents.

Jabalpur’s bishop, Mgr Gerald Almeida, said he received threats yesterday morning in which extremists vowed to attack other churches. Hence the diocese has decided to close all its institutions.

Some Christians have pointed out that the cathedral attack occurred on the eve of the visit to Jabalpur by Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan who has just started his election campaign (Janashirvad Yatra). Shivraj is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main party of Hindu extremism.

For the Madhya Pradesh Joint Christian Forum the ongoing violence is designed to reunify all nationalist-leaning (Hindutva) groups who want to rid India of every non Hindu minority, Christians and Muslims included.

Prof Joseph D’Souza, president of the All Indian Christian Council, wrote to the president of India as well as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding that Sangh Parivar groups behind the violence like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayam Sangh and Bajrang Dal be declared “terrorist.”

Tomorrow some 25,000 people are expected to meet in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) in protest against the violence.

In addition to Catholics and Protestants, Muslims, Sikh, moderate Hindus and Buddhists are expected to take part.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

India: Fresh Attacks Reported on Churches in South

Bangalore, 19 Sept. (AKI) — Two more churches were damaged in Karnataka on Friday, as the government put the state on alert after 20 such attacks since last Sunday.

In the coastal city of Mangalore, police said unidentified persons smashed a glass pane surrounding a statue of the Infant Jesus outside the compound of a church before escaping aboard a motorbike, the Press Trust of India news agency claimed ..

Mangalore has been the epicentre of the attacks against churches and clergymen in Karnataka, where Hindu radicals have gone on the rampage, claiming that their brethren are being illegally converted to Christianity in the area

Outside the state capital, Bangalore, a church was on Friday pelted with stones and some of its window panes were broken in the attack, the PTI reported.

The state government has ordered an “impartial enquiry” into the attacks on churches, which is expected to be completed in around two months.

The past few weeks have seen anti-Christian violence in the eastern state of Orissa, where 20 people, mainly Christians, were killed by mobs after a local Hindu religious leader was shot dead.

An anti-Christian attack also occurred late on Thursday in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh state, Indian bishop John Barwa told Adnkronos Interational (AKI).

“The Secretary of the local Catholic Diocese said that intruders broke into the Cathedral and set fire to parts of the church,” Barwa said.

The attack sparked a protest by 3,000 local Christians, he said.

India is officially secular but most of its one billion-plus citizens are Hindu. Christians make up about 2.5 percent of the population and Muslims, 13.4 percent.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]


Immigration: Spain; TV Campaign Restores Image of Romanians

(By Paola Del Vecchio) (ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 24 — How to clean up the image of the Romanian immigrants from the negative cliches attributed to them? The Romanian government has thought about it and decided, through its embassy to Madrid, to launch in Spain an advertising campaign with spots on the national and local television channels in primetime, and on the pages of the major daily newspapers showing the good face of the Romanians, who are presented as perfectly integrated workers. Under the slogan “Hola, soy rumeno” (“Hi, I’m a Rumanian”), the main figures of the campaign are Rumanian farmer, nurse and hotel owner, who work side by side with Spaniards and with an attitude of absolute reliability and closeness they say: “Together we make a great team”. The advertisement spots, developed by Saatchi&Saatchi, have the task of cleaning the collective image from the negative prejudices characteristic for the Eastern European community whose members are often associated with criminal activities or begging. The Romanians are the largest foreign community in Spain with 700,000 people out of the total 2.2 million foreigners living in Spain. “We want to show their true image and correct the stereotypes that have nothing to do with reality,” Romanian ambassador to Madrid, Maria Ligor, said while presenting the initiative to the media. The campaign director from Saachi&Saachi, Felipe San Juan, admitted that in Spain “there is a certain atmosphere of economic uncertainty that makes so the first ones to be put up for discussion are the immigrants mostly through violent messages by the media of which yet another proof is the latest news coming from Italy”. “We have two trusted people who have worked with us for ten years,” a Spanish farmer says in one of the spots. “Liliana and George know our farm better than we do.” “Hi, my name is Germana and I have worked for years with Anna Mazo in an emergency unit, together we are a great team,” assures a Spanish nurse, while her Romanian colleague gives first aid to a traffic accident victim in the ambulance. And also: “Florin Iancu is the one who welcomes you in Spain,” says a voice in the background while images of a Romanian hotel director are shown on the screen. Film director and actor Carlos Iglesias, who has shot a documentary on the campaign, explains that he wanted to show that “the Romanians living in Spain have needs and ambitions similar to those of the Spanish emigrants forced to move to Germany, France and Switzerland in the past century”. In fact the spots’ messages insist on the cultural similarities, the closeness and the existing links between the two cultures. But will the campaign be enough in eradicating the mistrust surrounding in general the Eastern European community? It is the desire of the Romanian government, given the fact that especially in a period of economic crisis the decision whether to revoke or not the two-year moratorium imposed by the Spanish government on Romanians and Bulgarians banning them from working in the country without a residence permit, partially depends on the campaign too. The moratorium expires on January 1, 2009. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Immigration: French Ship Rescues Barge South of Lampedusa

(ANSAmed) — LAMPEDUSA (AGRIGENTO), SEPTEMBER 24 — A barge with 65 immigrants aboard, including 13 women, was rescued during the night 40 miles south of Lampedusa by a French military ship carrying out a Mediterranean patrol operation within the European Union’s Frontex operation. The non-EU citizens, who arrived at the port around 0430 local time, have already been transferred to the island’s centre for first reception. For some days in Lampedusa landings of migrants had not been registered, also due to the bad weather conditions which were hindering the crossings. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Monty Python’s Life of Brian Can Finally be Shown in Torbay

Officials at Torbay Council in Devon gave the controversial Monty Python’s Flying Circus movie an X-rating when it was released in 1980.

The X-rated certificate effectively banned the film from all the cinemas in its villages and towns including Torquay, Paignton and Brixham.

The filmed prompted outrage from religious groups across the country who accused it of blasphemy and it was banned by 39 local authorities.

But Torbay Council has now lifted X rating 28 years later — after residents in the area voted it the ‘funniest film of all time’ in an on-line poll.

The film will now be shown at the English Riviera International Comedy Film Festival after the council sought legal advice to make the ruling void.

It will be screened at The Spanish Barn cinema — a former tithe barn which lies in the grounds of Torre Abbey, a converted monastery in Torquay.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]


Human Rights: Turkey Sentenced in Strasbourg

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, SEPTEMBER 24 — The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights ruled — with six votes to one — that Turkey has violated the freedom of expression by illegally sentencing Turkish journalist Sakine Aktan over an article criticising the Turkish state and ordered Turkey to pay the journalist 1,500 euro in moral damages. According to the court, the article did not promote neither the use of violence, nor armed resistance, nor hatred, as the Istanbul Security Court ruled sentencing Aktan twice (in 2001 and in 2004) to one year and eight months of imprisonment, and to a fine. After the enforcement of the new penal code, the case was reopened and the journalist was acquitted in August 2007, but the procedure is still underway because the prosecution appealed the acquittal. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Messenger of Allah Unites US’ Campaign Forms ‘International Legal Committee’ to Defend Islam

AMMAN- The ‘Messenger of Allah Unites Us’ campaign announced that it has formed an ‘International Legal Committee’ with the aim of activating and developing the legal means for criminalizing the slandering of Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The decision to form the committee was made during a meeting of the campaign’s Central Committee held last Sunday at Fact International’s (FI) Head Office.

During the meeting, which was attended by representatives of the faculties of law from the Jordanian government and private universities, the Central Committee completed the administrative framework to form the ‘International Legal Committee’ and identified its objectives and its future action plan.

The Committee’s efforts will center on discussing the most effective legal methods, at Arab and international levels, to criminalize those who derogate Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Legal expert, Dr. Ghassan Al Jundi from the University of Jordan, will head the Committee. The Committee includes, in its membership, Dr. Mohammad Al Mosa from Al Zaytunah University, Dr. Sabri Theyabat from Philadelphia University, Dr. Ahmed Al Zu’bi from the Amman Private University, Dr. Yasser Yusuf Al Khalaileh and Dr. Ahmed Khaldun Al Dhaher from the Amman Arabic University for Higher Studies.

Members of the campaign’s Central Committee, lawyers Tareq Hawamdeh and Osama Al Bitar, were appointed assistants to the President of the International Legal Committee.

Dr. Zakaria Al Sheikh, President of the ‘Messenger of Allah Unites Us’ campaign, said the formation of the committee “comes within the context of the campaign’s strategic objective which was announced since the launch of the campaign and seeks to enact an international convention that criminalizes the slandering of the Islamic religion and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).”

“Every possible effort will be exerted to activate this convention at Arab and International levels,” Sheikh said in remarks to FI.

He added that the international committee is still in its ‘preparatory stage.’

“It will include in its membership several legal experts from around the world to establish, at a later stage, an international legal umbrella to fend off all crimes of the vilification of Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH),” he said.

Sheikh paid tribute to the faculties of law at Jordanian universities for their cooperation and solidarity with the campaign.

“Defending Islam and Prophet Mohammad is a collective responsibility. It is the duty of every Muslim,” he said.

The ‘Messenger of Allah Unites Us’ campaign has already submitted a lawsuit to the Jordanian court against the extremist Dutch parliament member Geert Wilders, the producer of the ‘Fitnah’ film which depicts Islam as a faith of violence and terrorism and calls for the tearing up of pages from the Holy Qura’an. The campaign also filed a similar lawsuit against the Danish cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, and Danish newspapers for publishing drawings demeaning Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The lawsuits are now being studied by Amman’s Prosecutor General, Dr. Hassan Al Abdallat, who has already subpoenaed the cartoonist and other Danish editors involved in this issue.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Siné: ‘Satire Has to be Iconoclastic’

Siné, born Maurice Sinet in 1928, is a French cartoonist and caricaturist, who worked for national satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which was already in the news for having published the infamous cartoons of the prophet Mohammed from the Danish daily Jylladen-Posten. The eighty-year-old helped the paper hit the headlines again on 5 July when he caricutarised Jean Sarkozy after he married Jewish heiress Jessica Sebaoun Darty; would the catholic son of the French president Nicolas be converting to Judaism? Anti-semitism complaints flooded in, and editor Philippe Val sacked Siné. On 10 September he created his own weekly, Siné Hebdo, in a suburb of Paris.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Syria: EU Concerned With the Human Rights Situation

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 22 — The EU has expressed its concern with the situation regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms in Syria, in a written statement released by the French EU Council Presidency. The EU condemns “the arbitrary arrests carried out recently”, it says it is “deeply troubled by the restrictions on freedom of expression” and calls on Damascus to “unconditionally release the persons detained arbitrarily”. The EU also reiterates its wish for the right of all defendants to a fair trial to be safeguarded, in accordance with international human rights standards and principles. The European Union is also deeply troubled by the restrictions on freedom of expression, and in particular the closing down of a large number of internet sites.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The OIC Fights Islamophobia at Columbia University

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been at the UN this week, and as I write this he is being wined and dined (well, maybe not wined) by peace-loving religious leftists at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

But another prominent Muslim has visited the USA recently to speak in public. On September 18th Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic conference, gave a speech at Columbia University hosted by the School of International and Public Affairs. Prof. Ihsanoglu tends to be rather long-winded, so I’ll just post some excerpts below, accompanied by my ill-tempered commentary:

OIC flagThe subject of our gathering today is “The OIC’s new Charter, and its new visions and objectives, as well as its increasing role in international conflict resolution and prevention”. As many here might have faint information about the OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference), I thought that it will be useful to give a short introduction about this Organization and the reasons for its establishment. I also thought that it will be adequate to begin with a short glimpse on shedding light on the new Charter of the OIC which was adopted recently. I also find it irresistible to dwell on the phenomenon of the so-called Islamophobia which commands wide spread attention in the world especially and particularly in the West after the terrible and vicious crimes committed on 9/11 of 2001. Finally, I will discuss the OIC’s efforts in conflict resolution and preventive diplomacy.

Ah, “the so-called Islamophobia”. As if the term weren’t coined by the Muslims themselves (along with their allies on the Left) to transform a healthy fear of Islam into a designated mental illness in the DSM V, treatable with medication and directive therapy.

The term “Islamophobia” pre-empts any prudent, sensible, and sane aversions to Islam. Don’t like Mohammedans? Into the loony bin with you! We can help you, provided you want to be cured…

So what does Prof. Ihsanoglu have to tell us about Islamophobia? Phobia later; Islam first:
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Though the OIC is not a religious organization, we feel compelled on many occasions to clarify that Islam is the religion of moderation and compassion, a religion that celebrates diversity, pluralism, and recognition of the other. It recognizes and acknowledges both Christianity and Judaism and a host of other religions. Moderation in Islam: has, for millennia on end, found its expression in diverse shape and manifold meanings that have become the distinctive trait of Islamic civilizations and its particular trademark.

The religion of moderation and compassion. The same religion in whose name 11,934 deadly terrorist attacks have been launched since 9-11. The religion of amputated hands, severed heads, and women wearing tents. The religion that practices clitoridectomy and marries off its nine-year-old daughters. That religion.

I’m sure that Prof. Ihsanoglu would tell us that all those hideous acts are not carried out by true Muslims. Islam is a religion of peace, and real Muslims would never do such things.

Must be a lot of fake Muslims around.

…Islam is built on the premise that relations between humans can only be governed by virtue of the balanced principles of strict equality (first in the history of humanity), and justice and fairness which abhors fanaticism and extremism. It should be pointed out that Islam is no stranger to America. It is, today, an integral part of the American religious landscape, and a visible part of the fabric of the American society.

Strict equality of what? Men and women? Muslim and non-Muslim? What do the sharia experts at Al-Azhar University have to say about that?

Today 1.58 billion souls around the world embrace Islam, and at least seven millions of them reside in the United States. Islam is reckoned to be the fastest growing religion in the world.

That’s what you always tell us. And I notice the grand total has ratcheted up again: three months ago it was 1.4 billion. That’s an increase of 180 million, or an average of about two million Muslims added every day. How much of that comes through conversions, and how much from Islamic fecundity?

And how much of it comes from making numbers up out of whole cloth?

Islam with its 14 centuries of existence had a radiant history of success. It was a remarkable turning point in the history of civilization that brought about considerable changes in the domain of human endeavour. I would like, in this context, to quote Prince Charles of England who enumerated in a speech at Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies some of the Islamic heritage rendered to the human civilization…

I’m not going to repeat the nauseating words of Prince Dhimmi; suffice it to say he praised the wonderful achievements of Islam in the fields of art, science, architecture, mathematics, and genital mutilation. All right; I admit it: I added that last one myself.

The Muslim Ummah, means the “community of the faithful”. It is a unique bond that has no similar example under any other political or religious system in the world. It is a belonging to ideals which bring Muslims together in an eternal brotherhood lock which transcends all other consideration of allegiance or loyalties or barriers of nationhood, ethnicity, geography or language. [emphasis added]

You’ll never see it stated more plainly than that: Islam transcends any loyalties of nationhood. Muslims carry no obligation save to the Ummah; anything else is a temporary strategy, to be discarded as soon as it is expedient to do so.

Over almost the last fourteen centuries, Muslims, the world over, had a “symbolic” central authority which exercised mainly loose temporal authority and considered a focal point of Muslim unity. Under these circumstances, Islam and Muslims lived their golden age with abundant prosperity, wealth and a vibrant civilization in a society that ennobled knowledge, cherished sciences, and offered a very rich legacy to human civilization.

Ah, yes. The Golden Age of Islam.

What the Secretary-General doesn’t tell you is that all the ornate magnificence of Islam’s “Golden Age” was taken by force from the higher civilizations that Islam supplanted by force. The good life in Baghdad, Algiers, and Istanbul was made possible by the slave labor of millions, the taxes levied on the surviving dhimmis, and the baggage trains of booty that made their way from the devastated cities of the infidels to the palaces of the sultans.

Ekmeleddin IhsanogluSince I assuming [sic] my duties at the beginning of 2005 and particularly since March this year under the new vision of the Charter, I have directed the OIC towards a two-pronged direction: moderation and modernization. In this, the OIC stands firm in rejecting and condemning all forms of fanaticism, extremism, terrorism and bigotry. It emphasizes inter-civilizational and interfaith dialogues based on mutual respect and equality among interlocutors. The OIC also defends the respect of human rights, and endeavours to promote good governance, to widen political participation, respect of the rule of law, ensuring transparency and accountability, while combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and rejecting all attempts to justify this scourge.

Specifics, man, specifics! Where is all this happening? Which Islamic countries respect human rights? Which countries allow criticism of Islam, or disrespect towards the Prophet, or conversion out of Islam? Which countries allow women full equality with men under the law?

Name one.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Despite the discomfort of those auditorium chairs, the audience has mostly dozed off by now. Which is too bad, because Prof. Ihsanoglu has finally reached the red meat of his speech: Islamophobia.

I would like to turn now to the phenomenon of Islamophobia.

Islamophobia is a new name to an old phenomenon. It is bent on demonizing Islam and its adherents, and on separating the world into rival civilizations.

So Islamophobia is the cause of the separation of rival civilizations? There’s nothing in the Koran and the hadith instructing the faithful to keep themselves apart from non-believers and to take no friends among the Jews and the Christians? Did I read that somewhere, or did I just imagine it?

The causes of Islamophobia are many and some of them are rooted in historical animosity. Reports of Western Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organizations indicate that Islamophobia in the West is so widespread that it may be more prevalent and dominant than racial abuse. Some Western media’s frequent portrayal and misrepresentations of Islam and Muslims have been one of the most persistent and virulent sources of prejudice against Muslims. It is now considered by the estimate of the Alliance of Civilizations as the prime dissemination of Islamophobia in the contemporary climate, and recognized as the most serious international threat to stability.

Besides Jyllands-Posten and maybe The Daily Mail, what media in the West have portrayed Islam in anything except the most fawning and favorable light? What newspapers is this guy reading? What channels does his satellite dish pick up? Has he looked at CNN International lately?

Some scholars are also constantly presenting their biased views against Islam under the guise of scholarly presentation in their bid to set a false paradigm of knowledge against Islam. What is more alarming in this climate is the fact that Islamophobia has become increasingly tolerated as if it had been given license to gain legitimacy, acceptance and momentum to the extent that some start to see themselves on a collision course with Muslims and Islam.

Scholars are setting up “false paradigms” and these are “tolerated”. So who is doing the tolerating? The governments of the West? And what should they do to correct the false paradigm and establish a true one?

I’ll give you three guesses:

A major bone of contention with the proponents of Islamophobia is the question of freedom of expression. Although all agree that any freedom is always linked to responsibility, such as respecting human rights, and avoiding any form of incitement to hatred on the basis of race or religious belief, we find that some circles tend to ignore this basic universal and moral value and accuse Muslim victims of this racial hatred, who are defending their human rights, nevertheless, of trying to stifle freedom of expression.

“All agree”. You, I, and everyone else agrees that freedom of speech does not include the right to insult someone else’s religion. Right?

He doesn’t mention them, but Prof. Ihsanoglu is surely thinking about the Motoons in this regard. We all support freedom of speech, and we all agree that it has limits, and drawing funny pictures of a guy with a bomb in his turban falls outside that limit. There isn’t a law, but there oughta be, and if Prof. Ihsanoglu has his way, there will be one.

The collective efforts of the OIC and the member states have made an impact on the international community and have contributed towards raising global awareness of the dangerous implications of the phenomenon.

Translation: “Our threats have had the desired effect. Almost no newspapers and magazines outside of Denmark dared to republish the Motoons, and some of those that did — such as the Western Standard in Canada — felt the hot breath of their own countries’ hate speech laws as a result. We did good.”

Political leaders and opinion makers including academics and civil society leaders of the western world have now started to speak out against Islamophobia. The Dutch Foreign Minister in his speech at the First AoC Annual forum in Madrid in January 2008 stated and I quote, “Those in my country who call for the Koran to be banned are undermining the central principle of universal human rights. I condemn such calls in the strongest possible terms.” Unquote.

Yes, the Dhimmi Dutch have fully capitulated, and will neutralize The Blond if they possibly can. We all know that. But…

The United States Government also showed its sensitivity to the concerns of the OIC by its decision to avoid anti Islamic terminology in their official memos and correspondences.

Yes, it did. The craven lickspittle minions of the Bush administration were jerked up short on their Saudi petrodollar chains and did exactly as instructed by their masters in Riyadh. Makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it?

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed resolution no. 1605 (2008) at its 13th sitting on 15th April 2008 which, inter alia, called on the member states of the Council of Europe to “act strongly against discrimination in all areas and condemn and combat Islamophobia and recommended development of ethical guidelines to combat Islamophobia in the media and in favour of cultural tolerance and understanding, in cooperation with appropriate media organizations”. These are without doubt encouraging developments but are not enough to effectively address the issue of Islamophobia.

So the EU’s obsequious submission is encouraging, but it’s not quite enough. Well, what would be enough? What’s the problem?

The problem is that the EU and its member states have been less than zealous in their implementation of “international law”:

It is clearly established that international law and in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966 forbids any incitement to religious hatred. Article 20 of this Covenant stipulates that “Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.” Despite this clear stipulation, the Attorney General of Denmark failed to see in the infamous Danish Cartoons issues on Prophet Mohamed, any incitement to hatred on bases of religion or belief. The same authority in the Netherlands did the same thing in the case of the film Fitna, produced by a Member of Dutch Parliament.

Yes, we always come back to the Motoons. The Eurabia train was rolling smoothly down the track until ol’ Turban Bomb dropped in front of it. And then Fitna came along to add insult to injury. Quoting the Koran! Playing the recorded sermons of imams in mosques! The nerve of that Geert Wilders!

Such negative or indifferent attitudes adopted by officials in certain Western countries which seem to condone acts of an Islamophobic nature, can only lead to legitimizing Islamophobia and enhancing discrimination against Muslims and exposing their well-being and safety to danger.

Is this projection, or what? All those free-thinking Muslim authors and cartoonists who have to go into hiding or live under police protection! All those Muslim film-makers who were shot and stabbed and left dead on the street by angry Christian zealots!

At this point I wish to touch upon the role of politicians in this issue. What is expected from them is particularly a moral stand against provocative incitements targeting a part of their population and harming social peace with implications beyond their countries. We are not calling for Government action to jeopardize or stifle freedom of speech, which we hail and uphold as a fundamental right. However, we believe that it is the prerogative of a government to identify and react when sheer incitement to hatred, supposedly banned by international law, creep into their society under the guise of freedom of speech.

Got that? We Muslims respect your infidel freedom of speech, provided that you understand that it does not give you the right to incite hatred towards Muslims. And we Muslims, of course, get to decide what inciting hatred consists of. So pay attention.

As for the role of the OIC in the difficult domain of conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict resolution, I would like to say that our Organization is doing its best to play an important role in this direction.

This is a reminder that the OIC runs a classic shakedown racket. The actions of Westerners, who abuse their freedom of speech to incite hatred, are generating anger among Muslims. This is regrettable, but understandable, given the depth of humiliation experienced by Muslims when their Prophet is insulted.

The OIC strives incessantly to attain a peaceful resolution of contentious issues, but really, what can they do when the anger of the Muslim street is so intense? Muslims would respond favorably towards a conciliatory gesture — the imprisonment of certain cartoonists, perhaps, or the closing down of a newspaper or two. And maybe a few billion more dollars in foreign aid.

Then Muslims might feel more well-disposed towards the infidel West, making a peaceful resolution possible.

There’s more — much more — in the Secretary-General’s speech, and you can read the whole thing at the OIC website. What it boils down to is this:

As has often been stated, the OIC has a ten-year plan for eliminating Islamophobia, and this plan is well underway. In order to achieve its goal, the OIC requires that Western nations submit to the dictates of international law, as passed by the UN General Assembly with the extensive advice and collaboration of — you guessed it — the OIC.

To be in full compliance with UN resolutions, we will have to surrender certain liberties. Nothing serious, mind you; nothing that we’ll really miss. Just some frivolous excesses of freedom of speech, which we’ve been abusing a little bit.

No more making fun of the Prophet. No more talk about Islamofascism. No disrespectful cartoons. No funny songs about Mohammed.

Then we can all live in peace, and the world will be as one.

Oh, and one more thing: no eating lunch in front of Muslims during Ramadan.

Hat tip: TB.

Al-Andalus is Reverting to Islam

The Iberian Peninsula is one of the lost lands of Araby, a glorious memory, a thorn in the flesh of the modern Muslim world, a part of Arabia Irredenta. Osama bin Laden has declared the recovery of al-Andalus to be one of his goals. Maps used in Arabic-language teaching materials often show southern Spain and Portugal as a part of the Arab world.

Now it seems that an important strategy of the anti-Reconquista will be the conversion of Spain’s best and brightest to Islam. According to Islam Online:

Islam Comforts Spanish Intellectuals

By Al-Amin Andalusi, IOL Correspondent

Thousands of Spaniards, especially intellectuals, academics and anti-globalization activists, are finding comfort and solace in Islam.

“Embracing Islam is on the rise despite ferocious Western media campaigns,” Abdul-Nour Brado, the head of the Islamic Society of Catalonia, told

Map of al-Andalus

Estimates suggest that between 3,000 to 4,000 Catalonians accepted Islam recently.

“The numbers could be much higher than that,” Barado believes.

Local media reports have noted that intellectuals, academics and anti-globalization activists make up the bulk of the new Muslim reverts in Spain.

But how many are converted in the Spanish prison system? If Catalonia is anything like the USA and the UK, the conversion of violent felons in prison is a significant element of the Islamization strategy.
– – – – – – – –
Jihad, after all, is only one part of the process of Islamic expansion. Da’wa — outreach or proselytizing — is equally important.

Catalonians first embraced Islam in the 1960s and their numbers were quite few.

Now thousands of Catalonians are believed to have joined the fold of Islam.

The Spanish autonomous province of Catalonia covers an area of 31,950 km² with an official population of 6.3 million, and its capital is Barcelona.

It is home to around 100,000 Moroccan immigrants, which is attributed to the geographical proximity with Morocco.

The southern European country has an estimated Muslim minority of about at 1.5 million out of a total population of 40 million.


More Spaniards in the northern province of Palencia, in the northern part of the autonomous community of Castile and León, are also finding solace in Islam.

“Nearly 4,000 people in Palencia embrace Islam every year,” said Saed Al-Ruttabi, the head of the Islamic Council of Palencia.

He said many Spaniards start their soul-searching journey by delving deep into the Islamic faith.

“And when they do so, they discover that the faith is quite different from the perceptions they had.”

Al-Ruttabi noted that out of the 150,000 Muslims in Palencia, only 90,000 are of immigrant backgrounds.

“This reflects a global trend not only in Spain but across Europe and the US.”

But the rising number of reverts is creating a “cultural problem” in the southern European country.

A “revert” is what the rest of us would call a “convert”. Islamic doctrine insists that everyone is born a Muslim, but those of us who are unfortunate enough to grow up among infidels forget our true faith. Da’wa is the effort to remind the fallen of what they have forsaken.

“New Muslims tend not to attend prayers in the mosques of Muslim immigrants,” Barado said, attributing this to “cultural differences”.

“This is because the reverts believe that such mosques have become like social centers for immigrant Muslims.”

But Mohamed Halhul, a spokesman for the Islamic Cultural Council of Catalonia, sees a positive side.

“Differences between Muslim immigrants and new Muslims are a positive sign in a democratic country.”

A final note: the author of this article is Al-Amin Andalusi, or “Amin the Andalusian”.

Hat tip: Steen.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

As I reported on Monday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be feted lavishly this evening in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City by a group of useful idiots religious leaders working for the cause of world peace.

An organization called Women United/Code Red has organized a demonstration in front of the hotel timed to take place while Mad Jad is inside, starting at 5:30 pm. For more information, call Women United at (212) 726-1124, email, or visit Anybody who’s in NYC this afternoon should go over to East 42nd Street between Park and Lexington Avenues and get in on the action

The guest list so far…

Ahmadinejad’s HaloInvited Guests:

  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
  • World Council of Churches
  • The American Friends Service Committee
  • Mennonite Central Committee
  • Quaker UN Office
  • Religions for Peace

Uninvited Guests!
– – – – – – – –

  • Women United/Code Red
  • 9-11 Families For a Safe and Strong and Safe America
  • ACT for America
  • Alliance of Iranian Women
  • Amcha
  • American Center for Law and Justice
  • American Coptic Unin
  • American Maronite Union
  • Americans for a Safe Israel
  • American Values
  • Arabs for Israel
  • Anne Bayefsky, Eye on the UN
  • Brigitte Gabriel, authorCatholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
  • Center for Security Policy
  • Phyllis Chesler, authorChristian Solidarity International
  • Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights
  • Committee on the Present Danger
  • Concerned Women for America
  • Council for a Democratic Iran
  • Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
  • Aryeh Eldad, Israeli Knesset
  • Endowment for Middle East Truth
  • Family Security Matters
  • Foundation for Defense of Democracy
  • Fuel for Truth
  • Dov Hikind, New York Assembly
  • Institute for Religion and Democracy
  • International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem
  • International Christian Union
  • Jewish Political Education Foundation
  • Jerusalem Reclamation Project
  • Jewish Action Alliance
  • Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  • Jihadwatch
  • Rory Lancman, New York State Assembly
  • Log Cabin Republicans of New York City
  • Open Doors USA
  • Rabbi Zev Friedman, Rambam Mesivta high school
  • Rabbi Joseph Potasnik
  • Glenn Richter, Founder Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry StandWithUs
  • Stop Shariah Now
  • Sudan Freedom Walk
  • The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Traditional Values Coalition
  • United American Committee
  • David Weprin, New York City Council
  • Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, Trustee CUNY
  • Women’s Freedom Movement of Pakistan
  • World Committee for the Land of Israel
  • Zionist Organization of America

and many more….

Today, Thursday 9/25

Rain or Shine, 5:30 p.m. on East 42nd Street between Park and Lexington Avenues